If you read the article in Wired about my voice (see yesterday's post) you know I'm interested in helping other people who have spasmodic dysphonia get the same cure that I got. They just need to know that the fix exists, and of course their health insurance needs to pay for it. As demand for the operation increases, additional surgeons will presumably learn how to do the procedure.

All you need to do is vote up the Wired article on Reddit or Digg, thus making it more likely that anyone who has spasmodic dysphonia learns there is a solution. That's the first health problem you will fix today. But I have another health issue for you to fix this morning.

Several years ago I got adult asthma. Apparently a lot of adults are getting asthma lately, which is unusual. Experts don't know why adults are suddenly getting it in large numbers. Obviously it has something to do with lifestyle or environment. But what? That's what you're going to help me answer today, thus finding a solution to a second health condition in one morning.

For the past several years my asthma was nothing more than inconvenient, and I only needed prescription inhalers for a few weeks every years. It was no big deal. But about two months ago my asthma jumped into overdrive. Even the prescription inhalers couldn't keep up. I could barely walk up stairs. What changed?

Unfortunately there were too many variables. It didn't seem to depend on where I was, or whether the pets were around. It got worse at night, but that is typical of everyone's asthma.

Perhaps it was the weeds or trees or plants sprouting in the springtime, but could they be that much worse this year than last? Maybe, but that seemed unlikely. I wasn't having any allergy symptoms.

I fired up Google and started doing some research on what opens the bronchial airways. According to several sources online, i.e. strangers with no credibility, several common foods are excellent for relieving asthma symptoms. They included apples, pears, grapes, garlic, and onions. Antioxidants in general were reportedly good, but those particular foods were singled out.

So I started snarfing down lots of apples, pears, grapes, and garlic extract pills. Within 24 hours my asthma was reduced from about a 9 on a scale of 1-10 to maybe a 3, and it has stayed that way for a week. My prescription meds easily mop up the remaining problem, and I started my regular exercise regime again.

At about the beginning of my two months of asthma hell, I had consciously deleted citrus and spicy foods from my diet because I read that they excite the bladder and make you feel the need to pee more than you should. I'm all about efficiency, so I figured peeing less would be a good thing. And it worked, on that level. (Try drinking a glass of orange juice and see how long before your bladder starts yelling at you. I'll bet you never noticed it before.)

The downside is that those same foods are, as I now hypothesize, what protected me from the worst of the asthma symptoms. And this makes me wonder if the reason more adults are getting asthma these days is a change in what we eat. Are we getting fewer antioxidants than previous generations? Or are there more pollutants and irritants now, so we need more antioxidants than before?

If you have asthma, try apples, grapes, pears, and garlic for a week. Then tell me if you feel any different. Obviously the placebo effect can't be ruled out, but if it works for you too, researchers might want to take a closer look.
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Jul 30, 2009
you're shure that this are not just psychosomatic symptoms?

Jul 27, 2009
To Opa who thinks it's the caffine in the tea that helps his asma... The Antioxidants in the tea are dying to smack you in the forehead! lol
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Jul 26, 2009
Brazil nuts is a good source of selenium. Eating them helps save the rainforest because they grow best under natural cover. Most other rich sources seem to be things people are eliminating from their diets for various reasons. Note toxicity of high doses of selenium: http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/selenium.php
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Jul 23, 2009
This has been my experience as well. I also developed asthma in adulthood, around 10 or so years ago. My asthma had been getting progressively worse and attacks more frequent. Then my vanity forced me to go on a diet to lose weight. Eating healthier foods, lots of fruits and vegetables especially, and getting regular exercise has had even more dramatic effect on my health than on my waistline. Attacks are few and far between, never serious enough to warrant an emergency room, and usually tied to a very obvious trigger (like cleaning the cat litter box). I wasn't expecting this and didn't notice it until I'd been attack-free for several months in a row.
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Jul 23, 2009
Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that apples, pears, and grapes are not citrus fruits?

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Jul 23, 2009
My asthma hit full blown in my 40's. One night, I was upset about something and my airways just closed. The little, tiny bit of air I could I could get in, made a sound like a sea lion. My husband rushed me to the ER, where they 'heard' me breathing before I got in the building and rushed out to get me. (Kinda funny, they started stripping me as we ran in & I was almost naked before I was even in a room.) Anyway, seeing doctors after that, I found one who has been researching and found a link between cases like mine and (usually undiagnosed) Guillain-Barré Syndrome (which was found through blood tests that documented the patients HAD had the disease.) Anyway, part of his treatment would involve shaving my sinuses (ew!) because they are too close...and then the anti-allergy regimen as well as dealing with the after-effects of GB. I couldn't afford it. I do have a friend who did, though, and the results were nothing short of miraculous. He has NO allergy problems, no sinus infections, and no asthma symptoms--and it has been 5 years!
Jul 23, 2009
This goes much further than just asthma; diet effects everything and man-made foods are a culprit in many of the health issues people are facing today. It's difficult to do perfectly, but try not to eat anything with a barcode on it; stick with free range beef and chicken that hasn't been ingesting antibiotics and hormones, stay away from farm raised fish and try to eat the way a healthy man or woman would have eaten two hundred years ago (before processed sugar) if they were able to have access the same variety of fresh foods that are available to us today. Again, this is (to me anyway) much easier said than done.
Jul 23, 2009
The discussion about 'what has changed' also led me to wonder about the immune system compromise. I think we as a race are making our immune systems unhealthy by doing/being a number of things.
1. Germophobes: everybody using hand sanitizer, everybody using industrial strength chemicals to clean with, bleach on everything. Don't walk barefoot! Don't touch the subway pole! Wash your hands 12 times a day.
2. Overly protective of our kids: Don't let your baby touch another person or even go outside for months after birth. Don't let your kids play in the dirt. Don't let your kids get licked by the dog. Don't have pets. All of these things are natural, healthy stressors for the immune system.
3. Over homogenization of our food supply - and that includes the vegetarians, I think. We ate all kinds of crap, some questionable, some experimental, and all of it served to make our body adapt to wide changing conditions. If you stop eating any one thing, you lose the ability to process the contagion in that one thing. Contact that contagion now aerosolized and you can't defend against it. But lets not single out the veggies - the average american never eats cheese with live cultures; never eats meats unless they are overcooked and ground up and beef; never eats veggies unless its lettuce.
4. Over homogenization of the weather living conditions. If you keep yourself in a bubble of 72 degrees weather, your body gets super stressed when the one time comes when you encounter weather extremes. I think we need to be hotter, colder, wetter.
5. Not enough exposure. My sister doesn't have cats because she doesn't want her kids to 'possibly' have an allergic reaction. You can be damn sure, never have been exposed to cats, her kids will not have a tolerance for cat dander later.
6. too many damn medicines every time we get sick. You get a cold, you know what? You cope. You get a flu and you aren't elderly, you stay sick. I never got $3 a pill antibiotics for colds or flu shots and now guess what? I don't get colds and flu anymore.

When I was a kid, i: got wet playing in the rain; ate mud, grass, and bugs on more than one occasion; was 'blood brothers' with a neighbor; used to play games where you sneezed on kids, etc etc.
Jul 23, 2009
Here's my theory for the rising population of asthmatic people:
My generation is ticked off at your generation for leaving us a crippling dept that we will never be able to fix. As revenge, we developed something in the future that causes you to have cronic med. problems, but by the time we made this asthma inducer as the first part of this massive medical revenge sheme, your whole generation was dead, so we developed time travel technology, and this asthma is just the first wave of our massive revenge plan of using time-travel-induced-bio-warfare to make you pay for what you did.
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Jul 23, 2009
Actually, when I went vegan, I did notice a very positive change in my asthma, probably because I started eating more of these things, especially garlic.
So those strangers with no credibility are probably right.
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Jul 23, 2009
I suffer from Asthma and have reduced my dependence on medication using 2 methods. I use something called the Powerbreathe to exercise the muscles used in breathing, and I practice a technique called Buteyko breathing (which I learnt from a book) which aims to regulate the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the blood. The science behind Buteyko breathing is contested but as the method is effective, I'll accept the principle behind it, which is an interesting idea and worth investigating by anyone with asthma.
Jul 23, 2009
Scott, you may also have a look at the "SBS" or Sick Building Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_building_syndrome). Modern living conditions (doors and windows shut, as suggested by other readers, air conditioning) often make indoor air we inhale more polluted than outside air. The furnitures and electronic appliances, not to say anything regarding construction materials (mostly those using glues), outgas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs, like formaldehyde) and this insidiously, for years. The effects on health start unnoticed, but for sensitive persons they accumulate and add up with other factors (asthma, allergies, stress, whatever). Results may be impressive, and quite debilitating. The key here is the "accumulation" part. This is why all those affections are so elusive, the average doctor having generally not been trained to diagnose those conditions, too "modern" so to speak. Since you are building a new house, please consider using "noble" materials (real wood, stone, ceramics...). I'll leave as an exercise to the reader the exciting game of spotting VOCs in everyday life... (hint: they are everywhere!)
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Jul 23, 2009
Scott let me help you get your hits


if you want to get alot more, put it on the front page in the blog.
Jul 23, 2009
Jul 23, 2009
The "they couldn't be that much worse than last year" argument isn't convincing. The strength of the body to resist "militant" agents can be gradually eroded year after year (and built up again the same way). Modern environmental pollutants (car exhaust, artificial materials surrounding us, even harsh cleaning liquids) can have a very detrimental long term effect, not so much because they are dangerous, but because they erode the resistance of the organism below a threshold at which they have a strong reaction which serves as a self-defense warning. Kinda' "Danger Will Robinson" on a very local level.

After having lived in relatively roomy and very green Chicago suburbs much of my life (not much traffic), I lived for almost two decades in a big crowded European city and started having problems after about ten years, which worsened as the years proceeded. The worst time was allergy season, which seemed to keep lasting longer each year. For eight years now I moved away to a smaller city almost without traffic and only visit the big city for work, maybe once a month, and my seasonal allergies have almost all but disappeared, though the pollen and pollution levels in both cities have remained constant. But the pollution level in the smaller city is much much lower than the big city, so there has been less constant "rubbing away" at the immune system and my organism's natural resistance to attacking outside agents.
I think the "cumulative" effect of these otherwise harmless factors need be considered as lowering the threshold of resistance to things that in the past you dealt with naturally. Literally.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 22, 2009
I have asthma.

What works for me is coffee or tea, usually anything with caffeine.

But I will try your antioxidants.
Jul 22, 2009
I don't have asthma, but one thought is your introduction of anti-inflammatory foods may have helped. Calorieking.com use to be free and on that website you could search foods to see whether or not they are pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory (my wife has Crohn's disease and this has helped quite a bit by eating more anti-inflammatory foods). If anyone knows of another website that gives a rating to foods on their inflammatory level, sharing that information would be much appreciated. So, maybe give other anti-inflammatory foods a try and see if they also have the same effect on your asthma.
Jul 22, 2009
Asthma is caused by a malfunction of the immune system.

Unsurprisingly enough, the immune system is the one bit that modern medicine knows the least about!

There have been studies which indicate that any unnatural stimulation of the immune system can trigger 'stuff': from things as 'mild' as death-inducing asthma, to way, way worse!

And, MDs are at a loss to know what to do because this is the least understood bit of the human body.

Question: have you done something 'unnatural' to stimulate your immune system lately? Say, a vaccine, a dose of antibiotics, and so on? ALL such things are triggers for immune system disorders: they do not trigger the individual episodes, not like 'allergens', but they DO make the immune system 'twitchy', so that it CAN (and often does) do weird and unpredictable things.

BTW: apples, grapes and a lot of the other foods you have listed are known triggers for immune system disorders and diseases: on or off....you cannot tell which way it will work for you until you try!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 22, 2009
Hey Scott - have you considered whether your asthma is a variant of spasmodic dystonia? Seeing as you've had dystonia affecting your hand and vocal chords - why not the lungs too?
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Jul 22, 2009
Try a technique called EFT at emofree.com. I was having IBS type symptoms for almost 7 months, all the tests were negative, nothing was helping. I did the technique there (while reading the manual) and the symptoms stopped.

You will like it. It involves positive affirmations. I should add that I didn't think it was going to work at the time but was willing to try it because it is free to learn. Since then I have shown it to friends who have had good (dramatic even) results with everything from OCD, to insomnia to chronic low back pain. Now, I am a believer.
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