Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Flash In The Sky

This morning, at about 4.30am the lightning and thunder was exceptionally strong. Lightning evokes fear and danger, especially when it is in the middle of the night. I don't remember seeing such violent lightning and thunder which lasted for about 15 minutes in my 21 years of living in Subang Jaya. The lightning tripped the circuit breaker thereby stopping electric supply and without the fan, I found my room really stuffy and warm to continue my sleep. My mother was awoke too and both of us had a little chat. After resetting the circuit breaker, I went back to sleep at about 5am but found it difficult to get up at 9am.

A second night sleeping on a firm natural rubber mattress confirms that my backache problem is due to the softness of the earlier foam mattress. The pain just disappeared although sleeping on a firm matters also creates other problems for me. This is mainly due to the lack of muscles in my body. It's a little painful like sleeping on a rock surface but when compared to my back pain, this is so much better.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
I have been on the LDN for sometime now and my main problem is that I have difficulty in falling asleep. Although many sites says LDN has no side effects, I have found some clinical evidence to the contrary.

Dr. M.R. Lawrence is an English physician with multiple sclerosis (MS) who treats it with LDN. He also prescribes LDN for his patients. The following are his observations and advice regarding common side effects associated with taking LDN. While they refer primarily to people with MS, they also apply (with the exception of spasticity and possibly pain) in other situations involving the administration of LDN.

When starting this LDN therapy in the treatment of MS, there may also be some initial transient, though temporary, increase in MS symptoms.

Experience in using this method has demonstrated most commonly, such as disturbed sleep, occasionally with vivid, bizarre and disturbing dreams, tiredness, fatigue, spasm and pain. These increased symptoms would not normally be expected to last more than seven to ten days [but your experience may vary].

Rarely, other transient symptoms have included more severe pain and spasm, headache, diarrhea or vomiting. These additional symptoms would appear to be associated with the previous frequent use of strong analgesics, which effectively create an addiction and dependency, thus increasing the body's sensitivity to pain. Similar symptoms can also occur in people unknowingly allergic/sensitive/intolerant to gluten and/or dairy and who take those foodstuffs concurrently with LDN.

Italian researchers conducting a four month clinical trial of LDN in the treatment of MS made this statement about side effects:

Transitory haematological abnormalities (increase of liver enzymes, hypercholesterolemia), mild agitation and sleep disturbance were the commonest adverse events.

Because LDN tends to initially worsen MS symptoms (especially spasticity), Dr. Skip Lenz, a pharmacist who takes LDN prophylactically, recommends a nightly dose of 1.5 mg the first month, 3 mg the next month, and 4.5 mg thereafter. For life-threatening conditions such as cancer, the recommended dose is 4.5 mg from the outset. To quote Dr. Lenz:

The reason we suggest a stepwise titration [for MS patients especially] is to AVOID SIDE-EFFECTS. Three years ago, we found that EVERY PATIENT WHO STOPPED TAKING LDN BECAUSE OF SIDE-EFFECTS STARTED AT 3.0 MG OR HIGHER! There was only one patient who started at 1.5 mg who stopped because of side effects. Our efforts here should be to help the greater population. Now, there are some tough guys who can go straight to 4.5 mg and have no problems, but I betcha someone with a headache would feel differently or someone whose legs are screwed up in knots or someone who has had the bejeebers scared out of them with nightmares (me).

Suggestions for reducing spasticity (unusual "tightness" of muscles) in cases of MS can be found here.

Some people taking LDN have reported reduced appetite, a side effect that enabled them to lose weight. If weight loss is undesirable, small frequent meals are recommended.

In cases of autoimmune-related bowel disease, LDN typically leads to weight gain as the bowel heals and begins to function normally.

Some people have reported a modest increase in blood pressure associated with taking LDN, while others have reported a decrease.

Additional side effects that some individuals taking LDN have noted include an increased sense of wellbeing, increased self-confidence, and a stronger sexual appetite.

Sleep aids include Chamomile tea, valerian, melatonin, calcium/magnesium capsules, Lunesta, L-Theanine, GABA, 5-HTP, and Natural Calm. Recommendation is a dual-release melatonin tablet taken with a cup of lukewarm Chamomile tea. For best results, sleep aids should be taken about half an hour before bedtime.

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  1. HYDERABAD - Authorities Wednesday sent additional police force to Puttaparthi town in Andhra Pradesh as the condition of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba deteriorated.

    Sai Baba, seen as the incarnation of god by his devotees, continues to be critical, his doctors said Wednesday evening.

    His blood pressure is low and the heart beat has slowed down, indicating deterioration in his vital health parameters, the doctors said.

    According to the doctors attending on him at the Sathya Sai super speciality hospital, jaundice had affected the functioning of Sai Baba's liver.

    The condition of liver and intermittent episodes of low blood pressure are still causing anxiety to the treating doctors, said a medical bulletin.

    Hospital director A.N. Safya said Sai Baba continued to be on assisted ventilation to help his lungs and on CRRT (continuous renal replacement therapy) to assist his kidney's functioning.

    The panel of doctors has been reinforced with a government of Andhra Pradesh team under the guidance of the Director of Medical Education, Ravi Raj, an eminent nephrologist, said the statement.

    A leading electrophysiology specialist from the US has also joined the team of doctors treating Sai Baba.

    The state administration has gone on alert following a deterioration in Sai Baba's condition.

    Additional police forces were rushed to Puttaparthi in Anantapur district for deployment in the town, especially around the hospital.

    Director General of Police Aravind Rao told reporters in Kurnool that Sai Baba's condition was critical.

    The 85-year-old was admitted to hospital March 28 with breathing and heart problems. The doctors later said he was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction.

    - The Economic Times