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Newsletter 8 - December 12, 2012


Dear Patients,


Happy holidays to you and your family!


Setting Goals for 2013


As the end of the year approaches, I like to make a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming year. This is also a time when I like to reflect on how fortunate I feel. The most precious things in my life are the health and happiness of my family and friends and the meaningful work that I am privileged to do. I firmly believe that an awareness of how fortunate you are can be a powerful remedy for all that ails you. I pause every day to think about this. This may happen when I am with a patient, when I am speaking with one of my daughters, my wife, or my friends, when I am walking my dogs, or even when I am alone and "in the zone" while exercising. This is always my number one goal: to pause and reflect on being fortunate.


I think the main issue in life that threatens our health is stress. There are many stresses in life; the obvious ones are job pressures, family issues, and financial strains. Another type of stress is lifestyle stress. The less obvious stresses include poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. These bad habits encourage body decay instead of graceful aging. All of these stresses induce negative chemical changes that accelerate decay and make us more vulnerable to disease. All of these stresses are inflammatory at their core.


Here are some anti-inflammatory ideas that can strengthen you to make you imperturbable. An imperturbable state is one in which you do not dwell on the past but instead enjoy the present moment and look forward to a future that you want to make happen. All too often, people think about the bad things that they do not want to happen. Change the way you think, and envision the future as you want it to be.


Anti-inflammatory tips


1. Smile - It's been well shown that smiling makes us feel better, even smiling for no other reason than just to smile. Try it right now and feel it! Your smile, formed by muscles in your face, activates nerves that reach into your brain. Dare to be happy! Take a look at Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. In fact, how we feel is how we think and how we think is how we feel. Morose thoughts take our minds to places that are unpleasant and not real. Concentrate on what you want to happen, not what you do not want to happen.


2. Dance!! That's right!! Dancing connects your body to your brain. Dancing creates and strengthens new neural networks that improve your balance, endurance, and mood. By the way, most people that are dancing are also smiling.

3. Exercise - Regular exercise, 6 days a week for 45 minutes, generates anti-inflammatory cytokines that fight your own natural decay. Read Younger Next Year by Crowley and Lodge. Did you know that randomized trials have shown that exercise works just as well as antidepressants for treating depression? There is a >35% response rate for both!


4. Eat well - We are what we eat. Eating excessive inflammatory foods promotes vulnerability to diseases and accelerates aging. Eat live plant food, avoid excessive animal products that are high in fat, avoid highly processed foods. Be careful with excessive gluten. Check out www.wheatbellyblog.com. Try to eat low glycemic foods; high glycemic foods cause our insulin levels to rise rapidly in response to the glycemic load. High levels of insulin direct our bodies to store sugar as fat rather than burn it efficiently. Additionally, once the rapid rise of insulin peaks, it drops rapidly and triggers hunger, which causes us to seek more high glycemic food. Therefore, it strengthens the cycle that has us yearning for more high glycemic food.


5. Sleep - Get adequate sleep! Most of us need at least 6 hours. Sleep is when our body repairs itself, and cortisol levels (stress hormone) fall. This allows our immune system to get ready for the next day. Try to sleep in a dark room. If there is excessive noise from a partner that snores or pets in the room, use ear plugs. If you are a clock watcher, get rid of the clock. Optimal temperature for sleeping is less than 65 degrees.


6. Replace bad habits with good ones and keep it up for at least 28 days to cement them in your brain. Take a look at The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Any bad habit can be replaced by a good habit.


7. Practice kindness - You can never hurt anyone with it. Serving others serves ourselves and makes us feel good, and the chemistry of it all makes us healthier!


Holiday Schedule

I will be out of town from December 26th until January 6th. My associate, Dr. Kevin Carlson, will be available for any problems in the office or after hours. Your contractual agreement with me will be honored by her. Ashley or Lisa will be in the office every weekday from 9 AM to 4 PM and they will be available to facilitate any of your health needs. If you need any end of the year prescriptions, please try to contact me before December 25.


The Future of Health Care

We all, at some time in our lives, have people that come in to our lives who teach us. Ben Franklin wrote a quote that describes a mentor “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” I have been fortunate to have had a number of mentors.


One of my mentors is Dr. Stephen Schimpff, Professor of Medicine, former CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, and author of many publications and books. I began working for Dr. Schimpff when I was in medical school. In fact, under his guidance, I discovered a bacteria growing in a disinfectant! He made me check and recheck my findings over and over again to be 100% certain that a pseudomonas bacteria was actually growing in a phenolic disinfectant; we later published those results. We continue to work on various projects together. Recently, he participated in an interview online about the future of medicine and value of the primary care doctor. Below is the link to the video interview. I thought you might enjoy it.



Re-Enrollment Information


My office staff has been very busy finishing up our re-enrollment drive for 2013. It has been quite successful and I am gratified by the terrific response.

·  For those of you who have returned your paperwork and payment, thank you very much. You should have received an email from me confirming our receipt. If you're unsure and want to confirm that yours has been received, please send an email to DrOkenInfo@gmail.com.

·  For those of you who have not responded, I am requesting, if you plan to re-enroll, that your paperwork and payment be received in my office by this Friday, December 14, with your check dated January 1, 2013. If, regrettably, you are not returning, kindly let my office know in writing by emailing us ASAP at DrOkenInfo@gmail.com.


Wishing you good health,