||Meridian Institute News
RESEARCHING THE SPIRIT-MIND-BODY CONNECTION
We have been making great progress with the Colonic
Irrigation Project (See the July
2002 issue of this newsletter for background).
A colonic irrigation is a gentle infusion of warm,
filtered water into the rectum to cleanse the large bowel and promote peristaltic
action. Although the procedure has ample historical documentation and is
advocated by many alternative medicine practitioners, there is little direct
data on the safety and efficacy on this therapy.
To begin the process of addressing this deficiency
in documentation, the first phase of our colonic irrigation project is
a preliminary study intended to develop psychometric instruments that measure
experiences of people getting a colonic irrigation at the A.R.E. Health
Services Department. The first phase has also generated some important
preliminary data on the experience itself.
During the past six months over 100 people have participated
in the study. The results have been very encouraging, as described
below. The majority of participants feel that the colonic irrigation was
a very positive experience.
Two questionnaires were used, one filled out by participants immediately
after the colonic irrigation, and one filled out and returned a week later.
The response rate for the one-week follow-up was about 50%, which is excellent
for a mail-in form.
The reports immediately following the colonic irrigation
have been overwhelmingly positive on items like "relaxation," and "general
well-being." They have also indicated a low incidence of side-effects such
The one-week follow-up results are also very positive.
The graph (see above) shows the positive (improved) and negative (got worse)
outcomes reported. This includes any change (e.g., even slight changes).
Most of the participants reported improvements in
sleep, clarity of thought, energy level, and general well-being; only a
few reported feeling slightly worse. Most of the people reported no change
or not applicable for the other items.
Of those reporting, for some items like indigestion
most people reported improvement, whereas for other items like intestinal
gas, some people had more and some had less. For most of these items, the
intensity of the change was small. In addition, there were occasionally
comments, like that of one woman who reported greater anxiety, but said
it was probably due to going back to work after a vacation in Virginia
Based on the encouraging results of the first phase
of the project, we will now proceed to the second stage by refining our
questionnaires and procedures. For example, several participants
noted that the original questionnaire was somewhat ambiguous regarding
items like "abdominal pressure," which might go up during the colonic,
and then release. In response to this feedback the questionnaire has been
modified for future data collection to be more sensitive to the timing
of experiences both during and immediately after the colonic irrigation.
We wish to acknowledge and thank the staff of the
A.R.E. Health Services Department who have been terrific in the recruitment
of participants and collection of data.
MERIDIAN INSTITUTE VIDEO MAGAZINE
We are just putting the finishing touches on a video
magazine as a special benefit to those who provide financial support to
Meridian Institute. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand
words. At thirty frames per second, video media allows viewers a
much deeper look at our research projects and the people involved in this
important work. Considering the amount of time that most of us watch TV,
we might as well put it to good use.
After a brief introduction that provides background
on how Meridian Institute was founded and has evolved, the video features
interviews with Meridian researchers who discuss some of our current projects
and plans for the future. The nontechnical language and images will
help viewers to better understand our research efforts.
This exploratory venture is intended to improve our
educational outreach and increase donations. If you have made a donation
to Meridian Institute, you can expect to receive the video within the next
couple of weeks. For those who have not yet donated, a gift of any
amount will qualify you to receive a copy of the first edition of the Meridian
Institute Video Magazine. Your donation is tax deductible.
BRAIN DRAINAGE FOR ALZHEIMER'S
Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia characterized
by brain degeneration linked to two types of abnormal brain deposits -
plaques of amyloid beta proteins and tangles of tau proteins. Some
researchers believe that poor clearance of these toxic proteins cause the
unique brain deterioration in Alzheimer's disease.
A novel study with positive results suggests that
drainage of cerebrospinal fluid from the brains of Alzheimer's patients
may reduce the toxic proteins and halt the cognitive decline associated
with the illness. The experimental treatment consisted of surgically
implanting a shunt to drain small amounts of cerebrospinal fluid (low-flow
ventriculoperitoneal shunt). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) normally circulates
in the spaces (ventricles) within the brain and spinal cord, is absorbed,
and then replenished by the body. The circulation of CSF diminishes
The preliminary study involved twenty-nine probable
Alzheiemer's patients who were screened to exclude normal pressure hydrocephalus
or other etiologies of dementia and randomized into treatment (shunt) and
no treatment groups. The CSF drained from the brains of Alzheimer's
patients was analyzed for the presence of the toxic proteins for one year.
The CSF of Alzheimer's patients changed over time and the Alzheimer's patients
receiving the drainage technique exhibited little change in psychometric
(Mattis Dementia Rating Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination)
scores while the untreated control group showed the progressive cognitive
decline associated with Alzheimer's. The researchers acknowledged
the preliminary nature of the data. A larger, randomized, double-blinded,
controlled, clinical trial is underway to test the initial findings.
Interestingly, the traditional osteopathic model
of dementia is that of brain toxicity. Based on this model, the early osteopathic
physicians utilized manipulations to increase drainage of the brain when
treating dementia and other neurologic syndromes (Riggs, 1901; Millard,
1922). Edgar Cayce was aware of these techniques and recommended them in
certain cases of brain disease. Notably, in one reading that recommended
electrotherapy with gold and silver to regenerate brain tissue in dementia,
he insisted that "proper manipulations to PRODUCE coordination WITH drainage
in the system, as may be given through manipulation osteopathically, or
neuropathically given to the system under various stages, may create for
a body almost a new brain ." (Cayce, 1930) Perhaps the modern
medical studies of brain drainage for Alzheimer's may serve to elaborate
the traditional osteopathic hypothesis endorsed by Cayce.
Cayce E. Edgar Cayce reading 1800-16; 1930.
Riggs WL. A manual of osteopathic manipulations and
treatment. Elkhart, IN: New Science Publishing Co.; 1901.
Millard FP. Applied anatomy of the lymphatics.
A. G. Walmsley (Ed.). Kirksville, MO:Mitchell, Moran and Pruzzo, Associates;
Silverberg GD., et al. Assessment of low-flow
CSF drainage as a treatment for AD: Results of a randomized pilot study.