Health and Wellness Blog

Understanding Migraine Causes and Treatments


Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth is no stranger to migraines. She has been living with migraines since she experienced her first episode in a rehearsal room for a Broadway show nearly 25 years ago. Unfortunately, she is in a profession in which she cannot easily avoid her migraine triggers — spotlights, flashing lights, flying, and driving. At times she hasn’t been able to perform due to a debilitating migraine.

Chenoweth is not alone. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 12 percent of the population (including children) suffers from migraine — 18 percent of women in the U.S., six percent of men, and 10 percent of children. Migraines are most common between the ages of 18 and 44.

(Photo © Anh Nguyen — sourced from

Migraines are not just bad, throbbing headaches. Symptoms also include nausea/vomiting, dizziness/loss of balance, disturbed vision, fatigue, and sensitivity to light, sounds, and odors.

Each person’s migraine experience is unique, and symptoms can vary with each episode.

Some people experience intolerable pain that can knock them down for days at a time. Others can muddle through the day. Some migraine sufferers can keep symptoms at bay with medication and lifestyle changes, whereas others continue to suffer episodes despite their best efforts.

Migraine Causes and Treatments

Like many other chronic health conditions, migraines can be caused by a number of factors working alone or together, so a single solution such as a pill is usually not enough to help most people. Effective treatment requires identifying and addressing whatever is causing the migraines — the root cause(s).

Based on our experience, we have identified four primary causes of migraines, listed below (not necessarily in any order of relevance or frequency): continue reading

Update on Toxic Mold in Tampa


Last year, we wrote about mold outbreaks at the MacDill Air Force Base and the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center. (See our previous post Responding to the Mold Outbreak at VA Bay Pines Center.”) Just this month, Stars and Stripes and the Tampa Bay Times reported that five military families have since filed a federal class-action lawsuit “against owners and managers of private housing at MacDill Air Force Base, alleging years of negligence in persistent problems with mold throughout the buildings.”

The lawsuit claims that “the Michaels Organization, the private company responsible for managing the on-base housing at MacDill, knew the houses there had mold and did not protect the health and safety of service members and their families.”

(Image © Florida Middle District Court)

In one case, Jason Genrich, a chief warrant officer in the Army, developed chest pains, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue within five months of moving into military housing at MacDill. Genrich visited four specialists before a neurologist diagnosed him as having “sick building syndrome.” For the first time in his 17-year military career, Genrich was placed on medical deferment from physical activity.

In another unit, Air Force Staff Sargent Gary Elbron and his family had an air conditioner that was leaking water into the inside of their home. The family reported the problem to the building management company numerous times, but the air conditioner was never repaired. Water seeped under the linoleum flooring (see image above) leading to mold growth in the subflooring and health problems for the family.

Mold growth in many of the homes was linked to  continue reading

Understanding Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)


If you frequently feel bloated after eating or you experience repeated bouts of abdominal pain or discomfort, gas, cramps, diarrhea, or constipation, you probably already suspect dysfunction in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as your digestive system or “gut.” However, the problem may not be with your digestive system itself but what is inside a part of it, specifically the microorganisms living in your small intestine.

The small intestine is a narrow tube-like organ approximately 20 feet long that connects the stomach to the large intestine and is responsible for extracting most nutrients from food. The large intestine is a much wider and shorter tube-like organ that primarily absorbs water from undigested food and carries solid waste out of the body.

Bacteria and other microorganisms (both beneficial and potentially harmful) naturally reside in both the small and large intestines. Beneficial microbes perform essential functions, such as producing nutrients that the body cannot obtain from food alone. However, when bacteria (good or bad) multiply too fast in the small intestine, it leads to a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which results in symptoms described at the beginning of this post.

Left untreated, SIBO can lead to nutritional deficiencies, unplanned weight loss, and continue reading

Do You Suffer from Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?


More and more women are complaining of symptoms they suspect might be related to their silicone breast implants — symptoms attributed to what is being referred to as Breast Implant Illness (BII). One Facebook Group devoted to the illness has more than 50,000 members, all of whom claim to be suffering from a variety of BII symptoms, which we list later in this post.

While a number of studies show no clear link between silicone breast implants and many of the symptoms being reported, at BioDesign Wellness Center, we believe that this is a serious health issue. So, when  women tell us they think what they’re experiencing is related to their implants, we listen.

Breast Implant Illness Image

First of all, the silicone used in breast implants doesn’t exist in nature. To the contrary, it is a chemical composition created by hydroxylating silica to form polydimethylsiloxane. And while this isn’t a highly toxic substance, it remains a foreign substance that is not biologically inert.

Several studies have demonstrated varying levels of IgG antibody reactive to this substance in humans. One study in particular — Human Immune Response To Polydimethylsiloxane (Silicone): Screening Studies In A Breast Implant Population — concluded, “Test results showed that patients with implants demonstrated statistically significant elevation in anti-silicone antibodies compared with the unimplanted control groups.” This evidence clearly shows an immune response, which has the potential to trigger inflammation. And that can cause or contribute to many of the symptoms women are reporting.

Unfortunately, even with this evidence, conventional medicine does not recognize BII as an official medical illness and has established no diagnostic criteria for continue reading

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