Restoration Healthcare Blog

Welcome to the Restoration Healthcare Blog

Here, you’ll find news from our office, insights and observations from trusted sources in health, profiles of Restoration Healthcare staffers, information about innovations in the effort to take back your own good health, testimonials from our clients, resources and recommendations of note, and more. Read a post or two and comment on anything that strikes a chord.

By: Restoration Healthcare 

One of the biggest myths in our highly productive society is that sleep is just for the lazy and the bored — people who have nothing better to do with their lives. Chef, restaurateur, and television personality Gordon Ramsay exhibits an unusual amount of “fiery energy” and functions best on just three to four hours of sleep per night.

However, needing less sleep is nothing to get fired up about. It’s a gift, a genetic anomaly — sort of like Superman being able to fly. Chef Ramsey has what people in the United Kingdom refer to as the Thatcher Gene, named after former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose busy routine included a scant four hours of sleep per night.

Brain Sleep

Although proof of the Thatcher Gene is mostly anecdotal with very few reliable scientific studies to back it up, approximately one percent of the population is thought to be born with the ability to function well on about half the sleep most people need. To compound the injustice, these folks also tend to be more energetic, outgoing, optimistic, and ambitious. Many of them are also blessed with a higher metabolism and pain tolerance.

The rest of us need about seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night — not only to function at our peak but also to remain physically and mentally healthy. Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious medical conditions.

The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Neurodegenerative Diseases

A recent article in TIME magazine titled “A Rinsing of the Brain. New Research Shows How Sleep Could Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease,” highlights the fact that when we are asleep, the brain engages in some serious rest and relaxation. But it also remains active in some other ways. These include tasks such as sorting out the day’s events, keeping us entertained with fanciful dreams, and detoxing itself of harmful molecules. Specifically, among these are amyloid (pronounced am-a-loyd) proteins and their precursors — fragments of amyloid proteins called beta amyloid.

Amyloid proteins circulate freely in the brain during its normal workday and are normally flushed from the brain during sleep. When you lose sleep, this flushing doesn’t occur as thoroughly as it should, and beta amyloid builds up in the brain. These nightly brain cleanses may be what separate those who don’t get Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from those who do. (As an aside, six years after her death in 2003, Margaret Thatcher’s daughter revealed that her mother struggled with dementia.)

The connection between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep disorders has been Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Michael Shepherd joined the team here at Restoration Healthcare more than two years ago as a paramedic and was recently promoted to the position of paramedic team lead. Michael is part of our lab team, tasked with starting patient’s IV’s and performing blood draws when necessary.

This Tustin, Calif., native is also in charge of scheduling for our paramedic team and resolving issues that might arise. And he isn’t shy about saying one of his best friends, Erin, worked at our Irvine clinic and recommended him for the job of paramedic back in February of 2018. According to Michael, he’s been here ever since because of the care our doctors and staff express and deliver for our patients.

Michael Shepherd Restoration Healthcare

Michael received an Associates of Arts degree in 2013 from Santa Ana College where he majored in Fire Science. He worked for a number of ambulance companies in Orange County and Sacramento before joining the team at our Irvine clinic, and holds a California Paramedics license, Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification, and a Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification. He is also CPR certified.

On a more personal level, we asked Michael to tell us about his life outside of work. Here is what he had to say:

Restoration Healthcare: Please tell us what you like to do in your free time.

Michael Shepherd: Mostly, it’s spending time with my family, including my wife Lauren and my almost year-old son Samuel. He is definitely growing up way too fast. My family also includes a dog named Scully and cat named Foxie. Besides that, I like working out and watching as much sports as I can.

RH: What’s your favorite restaurant in town — the one you return to time after time and year after year? And what dish do you continue to order?

Michael: My favorite restaurant is Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Think back to the last time you played outdoors and laughed out loud like a child, with total abandon, no pain or stress, no guilt or regret about the past, no concerns about the future. Recall a time when you were so totally immersed in play that you lost awareness of any division between you and the world around you. You probably felt awesome in that moment.

In fact, you may remember that time as one of the most pleasurable moments in your life. There’s a reason for that. It just so happens that we are genetically engineered to thrive — physically, emotionally, and psychologically — through play.

Play your way to better health

Play is recuperative and restorative, it reconnects us to the real world and to one another, and it may be one of the key factors that has driven the evolution of higher forms of life over the course of hundreds of millions of years.

Play Through the Eyes of a Polar Bear and Sled Dog

In his book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown, M.D. proposes that our need for play is a biological drive as integral to our health as good nutrition and sleep. And he makes the point that all intelligent creatures engage in play as a way to recharge their batteries and optimize their resiliency.

He illustrates the importance of play by relating this wonderful story about an encounter between a sled dog and a polar bear: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Regardless of age, we all desire our cognitive ability to steadily increase over the course of our lives and not decline after reaching its peak. The ideal we seek is a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Many people believe that when we have all three, we have the potential for optimal health, fitness, and happiness, which is why monitoring cognitive function is, or should be, such a key component of any health management plan.

Case in point: A recent study conducted in Finland found that the physical and cognitive function of people the ages of 75 and 80 today are better than that of the same-aged people 30 years ago. Comparisons were based on both physical and cognitive performance and included muscle strength, walking speed, reaction times, verbal fluency, reasoning, and working memory. Researchers suggested that the improvements could be due to several factors, including better healthcare, education, and working conditions.

Brain Health Assessment

That said, it’s important to recognize that a temporary cognitive decline can be an early warning sign of illness and should be checked out by a medical professional. Memory lapses, brain fog, and difficulties related to thinking and concentration are common when you’re not feeling your best.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we commonly see patients who report concerns about their cognitive function. Some worry that their cognitive issues may be a sign of early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, which is rarely the case. Far more common is an inflammatory condition resulting from a hidden infection, exposure to environmental toxins, autoimmunity, or some other underlying condition. With effective treatment, many of our patients’ cognitive functions returns to normal.

Assessing and Monitoring Cognitive Function

Like all medical practices should, we look at your cognitive function as an important diagnostic indicator and as a metric for monitoring improvement and evaluating treatment success. Over the course of your treatment, regular cognitive assessments provide us with valuable information that helps us with adjustments we may choose to make to your plan of care.

To help us evaluate cognitive function, we use the Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS) brain health assessment service, which measures core elements of  Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Many ancient texts suggest that the eyes are windows to the soul, and in this sense, the term represent the focus of your life and what you are seeking. However, the medical community is discovering that our eyes might also be windows to the brain.

Increasingly, doctors — including those here at Restoration Healthcare — are examining vision, along with the retina and the optic nerve, in order to diagnose brain and central nervous system (CNS) disorders. These include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), autism, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and acute brain trauma (such as concussions).

Examining the eyes to assess brain health certainly makes sense, because the retina and the optic nerve are outgrowths of the brain. During embryonic development, the retinas and optic nerves branch out from a part of the brain called the diencephalon. In some medical classification systems, the retina and optic nerve are actually considered parts of the brain.

Brain Functions

However, vigorous brain health extends far beyond the eyes and the brain itself — it can affect other parts of the body as well, because the brain controls all bodily functions, voluntary and involuntary, including physical movement, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, breathing, the sleep-wake cycle, and digestion. It also plays an essential role in processing sensory information and controlling thoughts, emotions, and desires. In short, brain health is vital for our overall health, fitness, and emotional and psychological well-being.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we evaluate brain health and function using a sophisticated diagnostic tool called RightEye’s Brain Health EyeQ Diagnostic. We also use RightEye’s EyeQ Trainer as part of our therapy to restore healthy brain function.

RightEye’s Brain Health EyeQ Diagnostic

The Brain Health EyeQ Diagnostic enables us to Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

While there are many real and perceived drawbacks to conventional medical treatment, one that stands out in particular is when you can start to feel better even as your health is deteriorating. For example, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, decongestants, steroids, and the use of a nasal sprays to alleviate allergy symptoms. But after using these prescribed medicines, you discover your condition continues to worsen and even lead to other problems, such as sinus infection or side effects of the medication.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, our focus is on improving health and wellbeing by first determining the underlying cause(s) of your symptoms, Certainly, we want you to feel better from the treatments we recommend, but how you feel is a subjective measure that may not accurately reflect your health.

As practitioners of functional medicine and integrative healthcare, we look at objective measures — not only to assess the underlying status of your health — but to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments we recommend. Conventional measures of weight, temperature, and blood pressure are helpful, as are lab tests to examine blood counts, glucose and cholesterol levels, nutrient levels, and so on.

In addition to these and other office and lab tests, we routinely conduct a body composition analysis using the InBody 770 — a premium, medical/research grade body composition and body water analyzer that can fully analyze body composition in just one to two minutes.

InBody 770 Body Composition Analysis

The InBody 770 is a leading device in the field of body composition analysis. Its patented technology performs a non-invasive test that entails the patient standing on the device and holding the hand rods for one to two minutes.

The analyzer produces detailed results, including: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Whenever you have a physical examination, your doctor is likely to perform a couple rudimentary tests to assess nerve function. You’re probably familiar with them. In one test, your doctor or a physician assistant taps just below your kneecap with a small rubber mallet to check your reflexes. This is a basic neurological test to make sure the lines of communication between your brain and the rest of your body are working properly.

Ideally, your thigh muscles contract immediately, causing your leg to kick out and then quickly relax. If your muscles are slow to contract or relax (or don’t respond at all), this could be a sign of a neurological condition that requires closer examination.

Another common neurological test involves examining your eyes. Your doctor may shine a light into your eyes to see whether your pupils are the same size and respond to the light normally. If one pupil is smaller than the other or if they don’t get smaller in response to the light, that could be a sign of a neurological condition. Your doctor may also hold up an object in front of you and tell you to follow the object with your eyes, which is another way to make sure the brain-nerve-eye circuit is healthy.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we often use a more sophisticated tool for testing the health and function of the nervous system. It’s called Balance Tracking System (or BTrackStm for short), and we employ this test because we believe your nervous system deserves more than just a tap on the knee or the shine of a light into your eyes to gauge its stability.

The Purpose of Balance Track Testing

Your nervous system is responsible for all of your conscious and subconscious thoughts and actions, and it works tirelessly behind the scenes to regulate vital bodily functions, including breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and digestion. It even coordinates your body’s detox and healing processes. As you might imagine, nervous system dysfunction can negatively impact your health, but certain illnesses and dysfunctions in other parts of the body can impact the health and function of your nervous system as well.

A range of issues can negatively impact the nervous system, including tumor, stroke, diabetes, head trauma, toxins, viral infections, metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, immune system disorders, inflammation, and certain medications. Severe nervous system dysfunction is also related to several neurodegenerative diseases, including the following: Continue reading…