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Neuro Chemical Balance

Enclosed are scientific references to allow you to make more informed health care decisions. Please share them with your family and friends.

Table of Contents

  • Antidepressant Increases Risk of Suicide in Kids
  • Depression
  • End of Antidepressants
  • Happy Healthy Kids
  • Houston Control
  • Lowering Blood Pressure Lowers Brain Power
  • Many Patients with Brain Injuries Find Success with Non-Medical Care
  • New Generation Antidepressants Increase Risk of Gastrointest
  • Prozac and Zoloft May Be Leading to Suicides
  • Safety of Depression Drugs Questioned
  • The Brain- New Insights
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and Chronic Pain Syndrome
  • Uneducated Antidepressants Use In Children
  • Unhappy About Antidepressants
  • Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of the Pediatric Patient
  • Your Brain is So Powerful That Healing Comes from Within

Antidepressant Increases Risk of Suicide in Kids

The antidepressant Effexor may cause an increase in “hostility and suicide-related adverse events, such as suicidal ideation and self-harm” to children, according to a warning letter issued by the drug’s manufacturer, Wyeth.

The letter warned doctors that tests showed an increased risk of suicidal behavior among children taking the drug and recommended they reassess the “benefit-risk balance” for each patient.

The letter also mentions that Effexor, the company’s largest-selling drug, was not shown to relieve depression or anxiety in children.

Yahoo News September 6, 2003

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Wyeth distributed this information in a "Dear Doctor" letter, but interestingly failed to put the update on its Web site announcement list.

This is certainly not new information, as many will remember the story about a mom killing her five children while on Effexor. Effexor also has a history of triggering violent behavior in adults, so it is no surprise to find this warning issued for children who are put on Effexor.

This is particularly tragic as there are so many better options for treating depression than drugs. Optimizing the diet is clearly an important step, and one of the most important tools within this area is to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fats. I have had large numbers of patients spontaneously take themselves off their antidepressants once they started taking fish oil, which is loaded with omega-3.

Dr. Stoll, director of the psychopharmacology research lab at Boston's McLean Hospital and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, discusses this topic extensively in his book The Omega-3 Connection. I highly recommend this book, which reviews new evidence supporting the use of omega-3 oils for depression.

It is imperative that you use a high-quality source of fish oil. In my research--and in my clinical experience with my patients--I have found that:

  • The liquid form is superior to capsules
  • Certain brands definitely seem inferior to others
  • The Carlson's brand of fish oil/cod liver oil is of an exceptional quality and purity

It is likely not the only brand in the world of such high quality, but up to this point it is the only one of such quality that I can recommend, so I now offer the Carlson's fish oil and cod liver oil on; you can also check your local health food store to see if they carry it.

However, when it comes to the major player here, it is certainly energetic rebalancing techniques, my favorite of which is EFT. You can review my free, 25-page report that discusses how to perform the EFT technique, however, depression is best treated with a trained EFT therapist. To find an EFT therapist you can review Dr. Patricia Carrington's guidelines.


Depression affects more than 100 million people in the U.S. on any given day. It can strike anytime, can come on suddenly or build up over time. It's more than just "feeling sad." Often, a person with depression feels out of control and lacks self-direction. It's important to counter the effects of depression with a regimen of exercise, proper nutrition (including nutritional supplements) and adequate sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques is helpful, too.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, clinical depression has a specific definition and can be associated with the following symptoms (if you suffer from at least four of these symptoms, you may be suffering from clinical depression):

  • Poor appetite with weight loss,
    or increased appetite with weight gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Physical hyperactivity or inactivity
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in your usual activities,
    or decrease in sexual drive
  • Loss of energy and feelings of fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach,
    or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and stress are all related, and involve similar changes in brain chemistry, endocrine system imbalance and nervous system imbalance. At Festa Chiropractic, we want to help you make informed decisions about the natural choices available to you to help manage or mitigate depression, without resorting to prescription medication. Give our office a call and see how we can help.

End Of Antidepressants? --68 Times Greater Suicide Risk Shown!

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy
Executive Director International Coalition for Drug Awareness

First we had the thalidomide tragedy, the fen-phen fiasco, even LSD and PCP as prescription drugs, yet none of them begins to compare with this. Never in the history of the FDA do I recall something as tragic or terrible or as shocking or as criminal as this revelation is! Mass murder by prescription is the only expression that fits.

Blockbuster Study - 68 Times Greater Suicide Risk With Serotonergic Meds! New research presented at a recent NIH sponsored meeting demonstrates a 68 times greater risk of suicide with the new serotonergic antidepressants and antipsychotic than if a patient never took anything. These shocking figures of increased risk shows that a patient's chances of suicide jump from 11 out of 100,000 to as much as 718 out of 100,000 if one is taking one of these new SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa) - medications touted to alleviate depressive symptoms and rid one of suicidal tendencies. And the risk is even higher for the new serotonergic antipsychotics (Zyprexa, Risperal, Seroquel) - 752 out of 100,000. Our gratitude for alerting us to this new research goes to Vera Hassner Sharav with the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) (

Dr. Arif Khan presented his research at a recent meeting sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. This was a meeting of the New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit. The essence of the research was an analysis of the data on the suicide rate for patients who participated in the clinical trials for these new drugs - over 71,604 people. Now these are the clinical trials where these drugs were tested on the public to see if they were "safe and effective." This clinical data is then presented to the FDA for approval for marketing of these new compounds.

Happy & Healthier Kids are Our Specialty!

"The nervous system controls and coordinates all organs and functions of the human body." ~Gray's Anatomy

We specialize in optimizing human function


  • Improved physical, mental and overall well being
  • Increased ability to focus/concentrate, fewer headaches
  • Improved communication skills, fewer irritations
  • 200-400% greater immune competence (Ronald Pero, Ph.D.)

"Houston Control"

The Master Control System of the Human Body

An adult spine is composed of 24 movable bones called vertebrae. Each vertebrae has the general shape of a persons ring. The rings are stacked one on top of the other forming a vertical tunnel called the spinal column.

The delicate "Brain Stem" is suspended from the brain and extends down through the tunnel formed by the ring-like vertebrae of Cl and C2.

When the spinal column is in proper alignment, the "Brain Stem" can pass unimpinged through this foramen. But when one or both of the top two vertebrae become misaligned, the "Brain Stem' 'is impinged and normal nerve supply is reduced to parts of the body served by that nerve tract, hence sickness and disease.

The spinal column is intended to protect the delicate "Brain Stem" and the nerves leading from it. When it becomes subluxated, the column does not protect. Instead, the misaligned spinal bones of Cl and C2 impinge the "Brain Stem". This causes interference with normal nerve function to all parts of the body. When there is interference in normal nerve function, there will be health problems, sickness and disease.

By eliminating nerve interference, Specific Chiropractic, ("Brain Stem Specialist") can correct numerous health problems and help prevent many conditions from developing. This enables the body to maintain its natural, inborn resistance to illness and disease.

For you to have a longer, healthier and happier life, it is imperative that you be aware of the fact Subluxation of the top two vertebrae is a serious condition and can easily develop conditions affecting every part of the body.

It has been estimated that as much as 90% of the world's population suffers from this type of Subluxation in varying degrees interfering with the normal function of the body, and therefore, interfering with and preventing health.

Lowering Blood Pressure Lowers Brain Power

Israeli researchersreport that elderly patients think more clearly if their blood pressure is above average. Researchers performed cognitive tests on 495 people 70-85 years of age, then compared the results to blood pressure readings. Subjects with normal blood pressure readings - whether on medication or not - performed poorer than those with higher readings. Experts suggest that doctors be careful when considering blood pressure medication, since a higher pressure may be required in many patients (especially the elderly) to get adequate nourishment to the brain. There has been a push in the last few years to encourage doctors to start treating "pre-high-blood pressure" (120/80) aggressively, but contrary to some medical creeds, it may be possible for your blood pressure to be too low.

Many Patients with Brain Injuries Find Success with Non-Medical Care

From an April 2, 2003 article from "Health Scout News" and published on comes the headline, "Alternative Medicine a Plus for Brain Injuries". This article reported on findings presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting. The findings showed that many people with "traumatic brain injuries" were also using, what the researchers referred to as "alternative medicine". For the purposes of this study, the researchers considered all non-medical care to be "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" or "CAM".

Researchers interviewed 130 people with traumatic brain injury treated at the University of Michigan's Trauma Burn Center. They were asked if they'd used alternative health care to help them with their injuries. More than half of them said they'd used at least one form of alternative healthcare, while more than a third said they'd used at least two.

According to the study the most commonly used procedures used by the people interviewed were massage therapy, meditation, herbal medicine and chiropractic care. The brain injury patients to treat their pain, while meditation was used for affective disorders and herbal medicines for cognitive defects used massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Interestingly enough, the study showed that the majority of these patients are not discussing that with their medical doctors. "A lot of patients are embarrassed to tell their doctors, while others don't even realize that the vitamin supplements and other substances they are using can be as active as drugs, which can affect their medical treatment. As a physician, this makes me more aware of the fact that I need to ask my patients about any possible CAM use," study author Sharon McDowell, MD. Regardless of medical concerns, the study clearly reported that 80 percent of the people interviewed believed that the non-medical care they received was effective.

New generation antidepressants increase risk of gastrointestinal bleeding

Research published in the British Medical Journal warns that a new generation of antidepressant drugs, known as SSRIs, increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Canadian researchers monitored hospital admissions for gastrointestinal bleeding among almost 314,000 people, age 65 and above, who had been prescribed antidepressants between 1992 and 1998.

There were 974 gastrointestinal bleeds during the study, with the more powerful drugs (based on the level of "seratonin re-uptake") causing a higher level of risk. This was especially true of older patients in whom the risk increased by more than 10% for each more powerful grade of inhibitor drug, and those who had already had a bleed, in whom the risk increased by almost 10%.

For patients in their 80s, bleeding rates increased from 10.6 per 1,000 person years for drugs with the lowest inhibition to 14.7 with the highest. This equals an additional bleed for every 244 patients treated with the highest inhibiting drugs for a year. The data also showed that the numbers of 80 year-olds prescribed SSRIs rose from 892 in 1992 to 11,179 in 1997.

Among patients who had had peptic ulcers, bleeding rates increased from over 28 to more than 40 per 1,000 person years. This equates to an additional bleed for every 85 patients treated with the highest inhibiting drugs for a year.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, September 22, 2001.

Prozac and Zoloft May be Leading to Suicides

Several articles and stories have recently come to light concerning a connection between certain antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft, and suicides. In the May 15th 2000 issue of the Boston Globe appeared a story that revealed the links between these drugs and suicide. This article cited internal documents from Eli Lilly and Co., showing that the makers of Prozac had known for years that its best selling drug could cause suicidal reactions in a small but significant number of patients.

According to Lilly's own numbers, 1 in 100 previously non-suicidal patients who took the drugs developed a severe form of anxiety and agitation causing them to attempt to commit suicide during the study. Dr. David Healy, an expert on the brain and director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales estimates that, "Probably 50,000 people have committed suicide on Prozac since its launch, over and above the number who would have done so if left untreated." Lillys own figures from 1984 indicated that severe agitation which can lead to suicide occurs in at least 1 in 100 cases. It should be noted that Lilly got more than 25% of its $10 billion income in 1999 from Prozac.

Safety of Depression Drugs Questioned

An article by Gardiner Harris in the August 7, 2003 New York Times highlights the issue of the dangers of Paxil, one of the world's most prescribed antidepressants and about the entire class of these drugs that also includes Prozac and Zoloft. The article reports that unpublished studies about Paxil show that it carries a substantial risk of prompting teenagers and children to consider suicide. Interestingly enough, these studies also showed that Paxil was no more effective than a placebo in treating youths' depression, prompting regulators to recommend that doctors stop writing new Paxil prescriptions for patients under 18.

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to impose new restrictions on the drugs' use. The article reports that of the 10 U.S. specialists on an FDA panel in 1991that formally cleared the drugs of any ties to suicide; seven now say that the new data would prompt them to reconsider that decision. Experts say the suicide risk is highest during young patients' first few weeks on the drug.

So far, there is little evidence that the warnings have affected doctors' prescribing practices. But the Times article notes that even doctors who doubt there is a link between the drugs and an increased suicide risk are emphasizing that patients need to be closely monitored in their first weeks on the medication. The FDA warned, parents shouldn't just take their children off Paxil or other antidepressants since patients can sustain severe withdrawal symptoms if the drugs are stopped abruptly.

The brain — new insights

by Dr. Christopher Kent

Conventional wisdom concerning the function of the human brain is being challenged by new research. As Keiso 111 observed, "Over the past few centuries, two conflicting theories of brain function have emerged. One sees the brain as a vast collection of distinct regions, each localizable in the cerebral cortex and each capable of performing a unique function. The other school of thought looks upon the brain not as a collection of specialized centers, but as a highly integrated organ. In this view, no single function can be the sole domain of any unique part of the cortex. Obeying the old dictum, the holistic brain is greater than the sum of Its parts."

These theoretical models are being challenged by a new theory, based upon the concept of oscillation and wave mechanics. Kelso [1] continued, "Neurons in different parts of the brain oscillate at different frequencies. These oscillations are bound together in a coherent network when people attend to a stimulus, perceive, think and act. This is a dynamic, self-assembling process, parts of the brain engaging and disengaging in tlme...ln the simplest case, oscillations in different brain regions can rise and fall together, locking In 'in-phase' brain actMties, or the pattern can be 'anti-phase,' in which one oscillatory brain activity reaches its peak as another hits its trough. In-phase and anti-phase are just two of many possible timing relations that can exist between specialized brain areas. This coordination mechanism allows a person to perceive different features of an object, different aspects of a moving scene, separate remembered parts of an experience or different ideas that arise in a conversation, binding them all together into a coherent whole."

D.D. Palmer [2] expressed the relationship between "tone" and the dynamics of health and disease: "Life is an expression of tone. Tone is the normal degree of nerve tension. Tone is expressed in function by normal elasticity, strength, and excitability...the cause of disease is any variation in tone." Clearly, Palmer understood that the tone, or oscillation, associated with biological systems is dependent upon the mechanical and functional integrity of the nerves.

Stephenson [3] addressed the concept of "cumulative constructive survival value" and "cumulative destructive survival matter," metaphors for the phase relationships which had yet to be discovered by neurophysiologists.

What do these theoretical constructs have to do with chiropractic? Perhaps everything. It has been suggested that chiropractic care affects brain function. Stephens and Gorman [4] proposed that "spinal derangement" may adversely affect cerebral function, as well as vision. Furthermore, chiropractic care has been associated with favorable changes in children with learning disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [5-111

Objective evidence of functional changes In the human brain following chiropractic adjustments includes EEG [12] and functional MRI [13] studies. These studies suggest improved "neural efficiency."

As scientists unravel the mysteries of the human brain, traditional chiropractic philosophy is vindicated. As chiropractors, we have the technology to turn theoretical constructs into clinical realities.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Chronic Pain Syndrome

There has been a reported overlap, or dual-diagnosis, of both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic pain (CP) syndrome in many patients. This study set out to compare qualities and treatments of patients with both TBI/CP to patients with just chronic pain to gain a broader understanding of the relationship.

The most common cause of TBI was a motor vehicle accident. TBI/CP patients complained consistently of headaches, neck pain, and arm pain. TBI/CP patients also reported, "cognitive problems, impaired memory and concentration, and confusion about the etiology of their medical problems." Interestingly, there was an absence of memory and concentration problems in those patients with only chronic pain. The researchers feel the differences in concentration and memory symptoms are indicative of the general patient population, and not limited to their study. The researchers conclude:

We propose that the CP patients who endorse or complain of memory or concentration problems, who express confusion about their diagnosis, complain of pain in head, neck, and arms, and/or were injured in motor vehicle accident should be further questioned about the possibility of concurrent TBI."

Treatment outcome of patients with dual diagnosis is similar to patients with CP alone, although treatment length tends to be longer.

One important finding of this study was that dual diagnosis is apparently more common than previously thought. When the researchers were looking for the chronic pain patients without a history of TBI to use as a comparison group, 17% had to be disqualified because of a history of head injury. None of these patients had been evaluated or treated for TBI.

Andary MT, Crewe N, Ganzel SK, et aL Traumatic brain injury/chronic pain syndrome: a case comparison study. The Clinical Journal of Pain 1997;13:244-250.


Although 72% of Pediatricians surveyed admitted to using SSRI (antidepressants) for children, only 8% have received adequate training.

Only 16% felt comfortable doing so and over half are using these drugs for something other than what they were designed for.

Dr. Festa of FESTA CHIROPRACTIC has successfully treated many pediatric patients by gently aligning spinal structure. Taking pressure off of the central nervous system allows our bodies to balance internal chemistry naturally. Remember that you do no need any artificial/unnatural chemicals when you are healthy.

Unhappy about Antidepressants

Prescriptions for antidepressant medications tripled in the U.S. between 1988 and 1998. Antidepressants are used to treat a wide range of disorders in adults - and children, despite few studies that support their safe and effective use in younger individuals.

To determine trends in antidepressant use in children and adolescents from 1988-1994, the authors of this study in the journal Pediatrics reviewed the records of over 800,000 youths in three health organizations: a group health maintenance organization (HMO) in the northwestern U.S.; Midwestern Medicaid (MWM); and Mid-Atlantic Medicaid (MAM). In the 2- to 19-year-old children, antidepressant use was defined as a prescription claim for the drugs during the previous year.

Information gathered from all three organizations showed an increase in antidepressant treatment. Over the seven-year period, the HMO, MWM, and MAM saw increases in pediatric antidepressant prescriptions of 3.6 times, 2.9 times, and 4.6 times, respectively. Over half of the antidepressant prescriptions in this period were prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Use of antidepressants was highest in boys in the 10- to 14-year-old range and girls in the 15- to 19-year-old range.

Avoid any medication that hasn't been clearly proven to be safe and effective, and always talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks before filling a prescription.


Zito JM, Safer DJ, dosReis S, et al. Rising prevalence of antidepressants among US youths. Pediatrics 2002:109(5), pp. 721-727.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care of the Pediatric Patient: A Review of the Literature

  • Host: Private practice, 21667 Willow Ct., Hayward, California 94541

Objective: The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on upper cervical adjustments in the pediatric patient.

Data Source: The data was extracted from indexed and non-indexed sources with four computer-based systems, namely Mantis, Medline, Index to the Chiropractic Literature, and Chirolars. Non-indexed literature was reviewed manually utilizing references from journals and textbooks. Titles were selected from these references according to subject relevance.

Study Selection: Articles were selected on the effects of upper cervical chiropractic adjustments and more specifically, on infants and small children. It should be noted that due to the overwhelming number of documents for review and the difficulty of retrieving from certain sources, some article summaries by secondary authors have also been included.

Conclusion: This review identified approximately 58 articles on chiropractic care of the pediatric patient. All of the literature presented here involves upper cervical adjustments, utilizing both upper cervical and full spine chiropractic techniques. This review summarizes 25 studies documenting the positive outcomes on over one thousand children under chiropractic care.

Chiropractic Care for Infants with Dysfunctional Nursing: A Case Series

  • Authors: ELISE G. HEWITT, D.C., C.S.T.
  • Host: Private chiropractic practice, 319 SW Washington, Suite 1020, Portland, Oregon 97204

Objective: To present the cases of two infants with dysfunctional nursing who were able to breastfeed normally after receiving chiropractic care. Physiological mechanisms are presented explaining how chiropractic care may restore normal suckling.

Clinical Features: The first case involves an 8-week-old girl unable to maintain suction while breastfeeding since birth. She was diagnosed by a chiropractor with cranial subluxations. The second infant, a 4-week-old boy, had been unable to suckle effectively since birth. He was diagnosed with spinal and cranial subluxations.

Intervention and Outcome: Each infant received diversified spinal adjusting and/or craniosacral therapy based on the clinical findings. The first was able to nurse normally after receiving 2 chiropractic adjustments over 14 days. The second infant suckled immediately following his first adjustment and received a total of 4 adjustments in 21 days.

Conclusions: This paper reports two cases in which chiropractic care was followed by immediate resolution of dysfunctional nursing. Further research is needed to determine the role of the chiropractic adjustment in normalizing neonatal suckling.

Your Brain Is So Powerful That Healing Comes From Within

In the Science Times section of the October of 1998 New York Times come an article that also discusses the effect placebos have on healing. The article discusses the ability of someone's belief in healing to cause healing. According to the article scientists are now starting to understand some of the brain functions that may explain some of the results gotten from placebo treatments. Many drugs that are eventually shown to be ineffective can attribute their original success to the placebo effect.

The Times article goes on to talk about a study in Texas where a group of patients with similar knee problems underwent three types of surgical care. One group had their knee joints scraped, one group had the knee joint washed, and one group had incisions made to look like the other procedures but nothing else was done. Amazingly two years later, the group that got nothing (but believed they had surgery) had the same pain relief as did those who actually had surgery.

From a chiropractic standpoint, the placebo effect can be simply explained. Placebos only work because people believe they are getting some form of real care, so they heal themselves. Fundamental to chiropractic is the premise that the body heals itself. Chiropractors depend on this self-healing ability for the results we see. For over 100 years chiropractors have understood that the body heals itself. We believe that what a doctor should do is remove any interference to that healing ability. In chiropractic, we recognize that the most common form of interference to the body's ability to heal itself is a spinal subluxation.

A subluxation is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and put pressure on or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves. The result of subluxation is a decrease in the body's ability to function properly and heal itself. By correcting subluxations, chiropractors allow the body's healing ability to function at a higher level and healing is the natural result.