Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Preventing Falls In the Elderly With Music Therapy

August 16, 2011

This past week I attended an 87-year-old female with a history of severe balance and walking problems, as well as a history of falls. She was unable to stand or walk without the aid of a walker and felt unsteady on her feet. This past year she has fallen twelve times...


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Announcing the Unveiling of Our New Website!

The following news release was issued today concerning our website:


SMITHTOWN, NY (July 26, 2011)-- Dr. Keri Chiappino and Dr. W. Brent Reynolds are pleased to announce the launch of the newly designed website for their practice, New Life Chiropractic (www.newlifechiropractic.com). The husband and wife team, both board-certified Chiropractic Neurologists, offer a unique expanded approach to healthcare for the entire family. Using brain-based chiropractic and nutritional therapies that are non-invasive, non-surgical, and non-pharmacological, the doctors address a wide range of neurological disorders and health conditions.

Dr. Chiappino, a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN) practitioner, specializing in the care of special needs children, pregnancy, and nutrition, redesigned the website with parents in mind. “We often find that parents of special needs children are not fully informed about natural therapies currently available. Our goal with the new site is to provide resources, tools and up-to-the minute information on holistic therapies that offer children an alternative to a lifetime dependency on prescription medications, which often have serious side effects. The site features an interactive quiz for parents who have concerns about their child’s development, the tell-tale signals of attention disorders, as well as information on diet and nutrition. To celebrate the launch of the site, we are offering a free 15 minute phone consultation with any parent who completes the online quiz to discuss their concerns.”

Commenting on the redesigned site, Dr. Reynolds, a specialist in chronic inflammation, vertigo, traumatic brain injury, and nutrition, adds, “With our new website, our aim is to help patients with vestibular disorders, chronic pain and other health issues better understand the neurological basis for their condition and how Chiropractic Neurology can help them regain their health without drugs or invasive procedures. The new site clearly outlines the scope of our services and offers a better understanding of how our therapies have helped in real life situations through testimonials offered by those whom we have treated.”

The doctors’ blog, Holistic Nutrition and Neurology (http://holisticnutrition andneurology.blogspot.com), featuring articles covering the gamut of health concerns, is also accessible from the site. According to Dr. Reynolds, “The blog is updated on a regular basis so that visitors can become more educated on natural health care alternatives like Chiropractic Neurology. We hope our followers will take away valuable information from the blog and our new website that provides a fresh perspective on natural healing, allowing them to take an active role in developing and maintaining their wellness lifestyle.”

About New Life Chiropractic

Dr. Keri Chiappino and Dr. W. Brent Reynolds offer a unique, expanded approach to wellness that combines the best of neurological science with nutrition and traditional chiropractic, helping their patients achieve balance in their brains, their bodies, and their lives.

The doctors have distinguished themselves as two of 600 doctors worldwide achieving Diplomatic status on the American Chiropractic Neurological Board (ACNB), with over 900 hours in Chiropractic Neurological coursework. Dr. Chiappino and Dr. Reynolds’ private family practice, New Life Chiropractic, is dedicated to relieving chronic conditions that severely disable people, including, but not limited to, patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD/ADHD, vertigo, migraines, asthma, depression, and anxiety disorders, and they have achieved positive results with improvement in these conditions. Offices are located in Manhattan (Upper West Side) and Smithtown, Long Island.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visit Us At Smithtown Day

This Sunday, June 5, 2011 is Smithtown Day.

Please stop by and visit us at the
New Life Chiropractic booth #N075
from 9-5 (north side of Main Street, just east of Landing Ave.)

We'd love to see you! While you're there, sign up for a 10 minute Swedish massage for $5 -- we'll donate 100% to one of two organizations:

Smithtown Special Education Parent Teachers Association (SEPTA)
which helps parents enrich the lives of their special needs children


The Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference, a non-profit organization
dedicated to protecting LI's scenic trails -- the choice is yours.

Therapeutic chair massages will given from 11am -4pm by our licensed massage therapist Heather Lastuvka.

Let Heather's hands relax your muscles...while you lend a helping hand to a great organization!

Call for more info 631 265 1223.

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that affects all persons regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status or geography.

Recent reports reveal that 1 in 110 children in the U.S. has Autism. A child is diagnosed every 20 minutes; more children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined. It is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

There is no known cause for Autism, though there may be a genetic predisposition.Early intervention is key to developing the child’s full potential.

Recognize The Signs of Autism

In Infants:
Indifferent to surroundings
Content to be alone, happier to play alone — lack of interest in toys
Shows lack of response to others; no smiling; no eye contact— stares blankly
Does not point out objects of interest to others
Noticeable reduction or increase in activity level
Resists cuddling
No babbling by 12 months; no words by 16 months; no meaningful phrases by 24 months

In Children:
Avoids cuddling or touching
Abnormal play
Frequent behavioral outbursts, tantrums
Inappropriate attachments to objects
Displays little or no eye contact
Over- or undersensitivity to pain; no fear of danger
Difficulty with motor skills
Unresponsiveness to normal teaching methods & verbal clues (despite normal hearing, may appear to be deaf)
Loss of language or social skills

If you recognize any of these signs in your child, contact your pediatrician and
request a screening. Early intervention is key to your child’s future development.

An Autism diagnosis does not commit your child to a lifelong dependence on
psychotropic drugs. Holistic alternatives such as diet and brain-based Chiropractic Neurological therapies are available that address the source of the issue. Call to learn how our Maximum Achievement Program (MAP) can help your child reach his/her maximum learning potential without medication.

--Dr. Keri Chiappino DC,DACNB
Defeat Autism Now! Practitioner

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Your Thoughts Can Literally Change Your Brain

Our brains are consistently changing throughout our lives. Making new connections between nerve cells here, disconnecting certain nerve cells there. Our environment, including our relationships with others, games we play (crossword puzzles, Suduko, poker), TV shows, movies, video games, books we read, exercises we perform, treatments we receive (chiropractic/massage) and the thoughts that bubble up inside our heads throughout the day actually physically change the structure of our brains by rewiring connections between nerve cells. The term coined to describe this change our brain undergoes as a result of our world experiences is called plasticity.

One analogy that’s often used to visualize brain plasticity is a footpath in the grass. If you started walking on the grass through your yard in the same path every day for a year, you would eventually wear out a pathway that would be there for a long time. The key is that the pathway is used consistently. In The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge describes how the brain can be rewired and strengthened much like a muscle.

This is what our brains do, even with the thoughts we think: it creates new pathways. It used to be a common notion that our thought life is as a result of our brains, but scientific evidence has shown otherwise. The advents of functional MRI and PET scans that can record areas of the brain that light up demonstrate that our thoughts can send blood and activity to certain areas of the brain.

So how does one change a thought? It’s very simple. Just by being aware of your thoughts, or practicing mindfulness, you’re altering how the brain functions. If you’re having fear thoughts, stopping and saying to yourself “why am I having these thoughts?” is using a different part of the brain. In the book The Mind and The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey Schwartz, the author describes how people suffering with debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can change the pathways in their brains that activate the disorder by being aware of their thinking and learning how to redirect their thinking to something besides the obsession that has a hold of them. MRI and other brain scans showed that the pathways were altered, that the brain rewired. In most of the cases, just being aware of the brain going on a loop (experienced with massive anxiety) that tells them that they should wash their hands, count tiles, check all the locks in the house, etc. was altered because a different part of the brain was used to contemplate contemplation. Sounds weird, but it works if it’s performed consistently.

If you started today and monitored your thoughts everyday for a year, you would profoundly change your brain. The first thing to do is to be aware of your thoughts. Sort of like thinking of your thoughts in the third person, much like many celebrities and professional athletes describe themselves in the press. “John is thinking negatively about Sue.” If your thoughts are predominately negative, hateful, or fearful/worried, you reinforce the pathways in your brain that maintain these thoughts. We all know by now the deleterious effects of these thoughts. They’re often described as stress. If you think pleasant, loving, positive thoughts, those pathways become more efficient.

Another strategy is to be present. Presence means to be focused on whatever you’re doing in the moment and not think about the past or the future. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a great book on how to do this. Not to say that you never make plans, but try not to worry about those plans and how it’s going to work out. For example: “Joan is worrying about the upcoming conference.” Just focus on what’s in front of you. This strategy uses the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe has powerful inhibitory effects on our fear centers of our brains. Research has shown that a positive attitude can improve our overall health.

Another very powerful frontal lobe thought activity is compassion. Compassion and understanding lights up our frontal lobes very powerfully and is good for our communities. Imagine the world if there was even just a little more compassion. If the brain controls every function in the body then the entire body can benefit. What kind of brain do you want? You can start a new footpath right now. “______ is starting a new thought process right now.”

~ Dr. W. Brent Reynolds

Monday, March 14, 2011

Massage Therapy Is Good For Your Brain!

“Everything you have ever experienced felt or conducted in life is due to brain function. The ability to enjoy, perceive, sense, and experience life is dictated by the firing rate and health of your brain. It is impossible for a person to become healthy mentally or physiologically without a healthy brain.” ~ Datis Kharrazian, D.C., D.H.Sc., M.S.

Once considered a luxury, massage therapy has proven to be a beneficial modality for proper brain function and long- term overall health. Therapeutic massage has far reaching benefits, from bolstering sleep, mood and the immune system, to improving serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Studies show that:

Massage therapy, specifically back massage, promotes social and psychological behavior as well as bolsters the immune system: “Massage therapy promotes psychosocial relaxation, reduces stress and has been reported to improve the immune function. As such, massage therapy is currently used in palliative care for the relief of anxiety and pain.” ~J. Anesth. 2010 Dec;24(6):955-8. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

Massage therapy can help you sleep:
“It's necessary to give foot reflexology massage as a successful nursing intervention to elderly who undergo a change in sleep, and suffer from a depression disorder due to deterioration in sleep.” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006 Feb;36(1):15-24.

Massage therapy can improve your brain chemistry: Decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine were reported in a study by Touch Research Institute on massage therapy and biochemistry

According to an abstract from the International Journal of Neuroscience, the Institute’s studies included those on depression, including sex abuse and eating disorder studies, pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions including asthma and chronic fatigue, immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, during pregnancy, and aging.

In those studies in which cortisol was assayed either in saliva or in urine, significant decreases, averaging 31%, were noted in cortisol levels. This is beneficial to overall health as high and prolonged levels of cortisol have been shown to have negative health effects, including thyroid dysfunction, and higher blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.

In studies in which serotonin and dopamine, the activating neurotransmitters responsible for emotional control, were assayed in urine, an average increase of 28% and 31% was noted respectively. “These studies combined suggest the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.” Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.

Massage therapy can make you happier: The frontal lobes are where we experience happy, empathetic, joyous, and compassionate emotions. They help to regulate or gate the emotional, aggressive parts of our limbic system or “emotional brain.”

According to a 2002 study by the Touch Research Institute, “The increasing incidence of violence among children and adolescents highlights the importance of identifying at-risk profiles as well as assessing interventions for preventing violence. Empirical research has suggested behavioral, central nervous system, and neurotransmitter/neurohormone dysregulation in violent individuals, including (1) an underaroused central nervous system characterized by right frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) hypoactivation, and (2) a neurotransmitter/neurohormone profile of lower norepinephrine, serotonin, and cortisol, and elevated dopamine and testosterone. The literature also suggests a disproportionate incidence of physical abuse and neglect or the lack of positive physical contact in violent individuals.”

“In the studies we have conducted to date, there has been a relatively high incidence of anger and aggression in high school samples, even those that were relatively advantaged, as well as high levels of depression (one standard deviation above the mean), suggesting significant disturbance in these youth. Adolescents with these profiles also had less optimal relationships with their families, used illicit drugs more frequently, had inferior academic performance, and had higher depression scores. In our cross-cultural comparisons, preschoolers and adolescents were less physically affectionate and more aggressive in the United States versus France. Further, the U.S. youth received less physical affection as preschoolers, and as adolescents they engaged in more self-stimulating behaviors, perhaps to compensate for receiving less physical affection from their parents and peers. This supports the notion that less physical affection (or more physical neglect) can contribute to greater aggression.”

“Massage therapy has been effective with violent adolescents, perhaps because the physical stimulation reduced their dopamine levels and increased their serotonin levels. Their aggressive behavior decreased and their empathetic behavior increased. These preliminary data need to be replicated in a larger sample with a more comprehensive set of measures in the context of identifying a diagnostic profile.” Adolescence. 2002 Winter;37(148):735-49.

Massage is a wonderful therapeutic modality that should no longer be viewed as an indulgence, but essential for proper brain function and overall wellness. Call us at 631.265.1223 to learn more about how massage therapy can help optimize your health.

Friday, March 4, 2011

For Your Brain’s Sake, Be Aware of Your Blood Sugar Levels!

There are two factors which make our brains function normally: Fuel and Activation. Fuel for the brain is oxygen and glucose, more commonly known as your blood sugar. The brain can’t store glucose for a rainy day; it needs a steady supply and will break down other tissues to get it if it’s not available at the moment. This makes sense for survival because life cannot be sustained without proper brain function. Your quality of life can suffer also without proper brain function. Activation is the “use it or lose it” concept that we hear about often like exercise, meditation, chiropractic adjustments and brain activities such as learning a new language.

When we look at fasting blood glucose (blood sugar levels) in a patient’s blood chemistry, we’re looking at a window into their brain function. Normal functional ranges for blood glucose are anywhere from (85-100 mg/dL) in the fasting adult. If the fasting glucose levels are lower than this, a person can be considered hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia can cause symptoms of fatigue, irritability, confusion, and headaches. In essence, the brain begins to suffer.

The cause of hypoglycemia can be several factors. One factor can be too much insulin is being released. Insulin is a protein that is released by the pancreas. It stimulates the uptake of glucose into the cells which is eventually converted into the energy needed to power the brain and thereby the rest of the body. Some people suffer with hypoglycemia as a result of too much insulin being released due to poor dietary choices. A diet high in sugar is one of the most common causes of hypoglycemia. Other factors for hypoglycemia include nutritional deficiencies and hormonal problems, just to name a few.

Hypoglycemics usually have a burst of energy after eating and then “crash” hours later. The insulin is dumped out in a large amount, absorbs the glucose, leaving the blood levels of glucose depleted. The brain then alters its output to save energy -- the equivalent to your car running out of gas. The symptoms one may experience are the same ones mentioned above. Chronic, long-term hypoglycemia can have serious consequences for the brain and can even lead to brain degeneration.

If hypoglycemia is not corrected, it can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance. This is when the pancreas no longer effectively produces insulin and the blood sugar becomes elevated. The fasting blood glucose will creep up towards the 100 mg/dL level. This can cause a whole host of problems for the brain such as inflammation, fatigue and alterations in hormone levels. It can also lead to cardiovascular problems, small blood vessel changes in the brain, and ultimately brain degeneration. The end result of insulin resistance if not corrected is Type II Diabetes. Once Diabetes sets in, it can be very difficult to correct. Diabetes can lead to stroke, depression, and recent evidence suggests that diabetics are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. (1)

A very important blood marker for insulin resistance is Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). HbA1c is a chemical component in the blood that reveals the blood glucose levels over a long period of time, not just as a result of the last meal. HbA1c is a useful indicator of how well the blood glucose level has been controlled in the recent past (6-8 weeks). Normal ranges should be around 4-6%. When HbA1c begins creeping up around 6, it indicates possible insulin resistance.

Blood sugar is of utmost importance to your brain’s performance. Whenever we attend a patient with a chronic health issue, especially chronic neurological issues, whether it be traumatic brain injury, Autism, Vertigo, chronic pain, etc., the first thing we want to look at is the fasting blood glucose. These levels give us a picture of the functioning of the entire brain. It is equivalent to a mechanic checking the oil levels in your car -- it’s the first thing they do to determine how the engine is performing. Often times, the blood sugar level (either too high or too low) is the cause of many common, chronic problems that people present with to healthcare professionals. In many cases, simply stabilizing a patient’s blood sugar through dietary changes and supplementation can eradicate many chronic symptoms and prevent future diseases and healthcare costs down the road.

-- Dr. Brent Reynolds

(1)Cerebral complications of diabetes mellitus. Ory Hetil. 2007 Dec 16;148(50):2371-6.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vertigo: Where to Turn for Help

Vertigo (from the Latin vertō "a whirling or spinning movement") is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking. (source: Wikipedia)

There are several types of vertigo. One type is caused by debris in the canals of the inner ear and made worse by movement of the head (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). Other causes include inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuritis) and dysfunction of the joints in the neck (cervicogenic vertigo). There are still many other causes not mentioned here.

It’s important to rule out whether a disease is causing the symptoms. MRIs, CAT scans and other diagnostic tests are helpful in ruling out brain tumors and other diseases which can cause the symptoms.

What if the MRIs and other tests are unremarkable but you still have symptoms? This is a very common complaint. No concrete disease can be found, but the symptoms still persist. Unfortunately, in cases like these patients can get stuck on a merry-go-round of medications to mask the symptoms and travel from doctor to doctor only to be told “it’s psychological" or "you have too much stress in your life.”

Here’s what you should do if you have symptoms of vertigo and a disease process such as tumor, infection, etc. has been ruled out: Go to a health professional who specializes in this disorder and who is trained in assessing the function of the vestibular system and brain. A board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist can help you address and manage your vertigo, dizziness, or balance loss without the need for medication. Visit www.acnb.org to locate a Chiropractic Neurologist near you.

A professional trained in analyzing the function of the vestibular system can run a series of tests to evaluate how the system is working. For example, an ENG test can determine whether or not inner ear disease is the true cause of the patient's dizziness.

One of the most common causes of vertigo is something mentioned earlier called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. In BPPV, a simple functional test can be performed called the Dix Hallpike test. If this test is positive, a procedure called the Epley maneuver can be performed which in many cases, can be very successful in correcting the cause of the vertigo. To learn more, check out the Vestibular Disorders Association.

Vertigo is a terrible disorder that can be treated. If you or someone you know is suffering, investigate and educate yourself to ensure proper evaluation and treatment.

Contact me at docbr2@yahoo.com or via phone 631 265 1223 to discuss your symptoms and to learn how to restore your health naturally.

--Dr. W. Brent Reynolds

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Scoop on Proper Snow Shoveling: Tips to Prevent Back Injuries During The Snowy Season

• Get your blood pumping and joints moving by stretching the arms, back, shoulders and legs before heading outdoors. Devoting a few minutes to exercise prepares your body for the vigors of shoveling and helps avoid any muscle pulls.

• Reduce your risk of developing hypothermia, a dangerous condition where body temperature drops. Dress warmly. Layers are best.

• To maximize your footing and help minimize the risk of a fall, wear sturdy boots/shoes with good tread. If possible, try sprinkling some sand underfoot to provide some extra traction.

• Use a lightweight, ergonomically-designed, non-stick shovel.

• Plan to shovel when the snow is fresh and light -- clear your walkway before it becomes compacted.

• If the snow is deep, be sure to clear layer by layer.

• Shovel the snow closest to you; overstretching to lift can strain your lower back.

• Start slowly and pace yourself to avoid placing a sudden stress on your heart. Cold air makes it harder to breathe and work, placing more demand on your body.

• When shoveling, try to push the snow to the side, rather than lifting. Stand with your feet apart at hip width to maintain proper balance.

• If you must dig and toss the snow, lift with your legs, keeping your back straight; tighten your stomach muscle to avoid straining your back.

• Avoid twisting your body; rotate your entire body to face the direction you are throwing in.

• Make sure to keep hydrated. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

• Pace yourself and know when to call it quits. If you're feeling pain or exhaustion, take a break.

• Avoid shoveling altogether if you are elderly, a heavy smoker, have a heart condition, a history of back problems, or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Enlist the help of family members or kind neighbors.

Even the best laid plans go astray. Injuries sometimes do occur, despite the best intentions to shovel properly. Lower back strain, muscle spasms, disc damage, and even spinal fractures are frequently experienced after shoveling.

If you experience pain, seek help immediately. Call us at 631 265 1223. We’ll help pinpoint the cause of the pain, relieve the problem, and get you feeling in tip top shape again!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kicking off the New Year: Chiropractic Resolutions for a Pain-free Year

Ring in the new year by committing to a healthier lifestyle for 2011. A few simple and practical lifestyle changes can make a positive impact on your health and can also prevent you from experiencing a painful injury in the year ahead, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

We, along with the ACA, urge you to adopt the following New Year’s resolutions for a healthier you:

1. I will limit my intake of caffeinated coffee, sodas and teas. The caffeine in these drinks can cause dehydration and can rob the body of essential nutrients. Stick to water, natural juices and other decaffeinated beverages.

2. I will avoid over medicating myself and my family. Many over‐the‐ counter and prescription medications have unknown side effects. Discuss alternative remedies with a doctor of chiropractic.

3. I will not carry a heavy purse or briefcase with its strap over my shoulder, unless I place the strap over my head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain.

4. I will not allow my children to carry backpacks that weigh more than 10 percent of their body weight. Beyond that weight, the backpack can cause the wearer to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, instead of the shoulders.

5. I will not lift heavy objects over my head. These types of movements can strain muscles and affect nerves, causing severe neck, shoulder and arm problems.

6. I will not turn my torso while lifting relatively heavy objects. This rotates the spine and can bring on a "back attack."

7. I will avoid the habit of consistently crossing the same knee over the other. Such a habit can also eventually cause misalignment of the spine.

8. I will try to keep moving while I`m at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.

9. I will, when using a shovel, in winter or summer, remember to push rather than lift, whenever possible.

10. I will use luggage with wheels whenever possible. Carrying, lifting and moving a heavy suitcase can ruin a vacation.

Happy New Year from all of us at New Life Chiropractic!