Monday, July 12, 2021

WHAT IS GRAIL? Early Cancer Detection & "Full Body" Cancer Test

Written by: Dr. Robert Bard
Cancer Specialist, NYC)

In the mid-sixties, the medical community and the radiological society were dedicated to the pursuit of non-invasive screening and diagnostic protocols through MEDICAL IMAGING. Early mammography was established as a minimally invasive cancer screening protocol.  Other imaging solutions like the MRI, Pet-CT and the ultrasound were also part of this global  diagnostic movement. [00]- (also see our list of cancer diagnostic solutions)

Meanwhile, early forms of genetic testing which began in the 1950's involved counting the number of chromosomes per cell. Deviations from the expected number of chromosomes (46 in humans) could lead to a diagnosis of certain genetic conditions such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) or monosomy X (Turner syndrome)....Genetic tests are performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds a fetus during pregnancy), or other tissue.  [0]

In the spring of 2019, our network of immuno-oncologists have alerted us of a new advancement in cancer detection and genetic sequencing. The treatment community expressed enthusiasm over this "GRAIL" protocol in overwhelming comparison to the technologies available in the current market. [1] 


MedTech Review:
GRAIL EXPLAINED

Where the vast majority of cancer pursue the general presence of cancer, GRAIL's screening approach under the Galleri™ program offers a multi-cancer early detection test that promises to "detect over 50 types of cancers... over 45 of which lack recommended screening today — with a low false positive rate, through a single blood draw... GRAIL unique methylation-based technology preferentially targets the most informative regions of the genome and is designed to use its proprietary database and machine-learning algorithms to both detect the presence of cancer and identify the tumor’s tissue of origin."

“Today, the majority of cancers are found too late, when outcomes are often fatal, because most deadly cancers have no available screening tests,” says Josh Ofman, GRAIL CMO. “Current guideline-recommended screenings are critical, but in the United States they cover only five cancers and screen for a single cancer at a time.” [2]

By spring of 2020, news of GRAIL going public with investors like Johnson & Johnson, Arch Venture Partners and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In fall of that same year, it was announced GRAIL would be acquired by Illumina, the company it was originally spun out from to pursue the development of its early detection technology. Other pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, AstraZeneca, and Bristol Myers Squibb have also joined the growing list of partners.. [3]

An advancing movement in Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) offers use of sophisticated technologies to identify signals of early cancer in blood and can detect a variety of cancers, many of which are potentially lethal and currently have no recommended screening tests. The ease and convenience of cancer detection via a single blood draw is an important added advantage that could help achieve better compliance than existing single-cancer screening tests. Still, the goal is not to have an MCED test replace the current cancer screening paradigm, but rather to complement existing single-cancer screening tests. (source- AJMC link)

• In a validation study, an MCED test identified a diversity of cancer signals with high specificity.

• The MCED test predicted the origin of the cancer signal with high accuracy across multiple cancer types.

• Results support the use of this MCED test on a population scale as a complement to existing single-cancer screening tests.

In this pre-specified, large-scale, clinical validation sub-study, the MCED test demonstrated high specificity and accuracy of CSO prediction and detected cancer signals across a wide diversity of cancers. These results support the feasibility of this blood-based MCED test as a complement to existing single-cancer screening tests. (source: Annals of Oncology link)


ROBERT L. BARD, MD, PC, DABR, FASLMS   -  Dr. Bard received the 2020 nationally acclaimed Ellis Island Award for his lifetime achievement in advanced cancer diagnostic imaging. He co-founded the 9/11 CancerScan program to bring additional diagnostic support to all first responders from Ground Zero. His main practice in midtown, NYC (Bard Diagnostic Imaging- www.CancerScan.com) uses the latest in digital imaging technology and has been also used to help guide biopsies and in many cases, even replicate much of the same reports of a clinical invasive biopsy. Imaging solutions such as high-powered sonograms, Power Doppler Histogram, Sonofluoroscopy, 3D/4D image reconstruction and the Power Doppler Histogram  are safe, noninvasive, and do not use ionizing radiation.



GRAIL 101: THE NEXT GENERATION OF GENETIC DIAGNOSTICS & CANCER TRACKING

(Transcript from GRAIL educational video

Cancer strikes one in two men and one in three women during their lifetimes and most cancers are detected too late. Often when the prognosis is poor and treatment options are limited, nearly 80% of those diagnosed with late stage cancer die within five years. If the cancer could be discovered earlier, prognosis could improve and treatment options could expand because only a few cancers are screened for many cancers can often grow undiscovered for years. In fact, 71% of cancer deaths are due to cancers with no recommended screening test. But what if there was a way to screen for multiple cancer types, with something as simple as a routine blood test inside every human body DNA fragments are routinely released from cells and circulate within our blood. These fragments often contain features that indicate the type of cell they originally came from including cancer cells. After extensive research grail determined the most promising way to detect cancer signals from this DNA in the blood and where in the body.

These signals came from by looking at one type of unique feature of DNA, methylation markers, grails, DNA sequencing, and machine learning technology allows us to recognize signatures for cancer by analyzing over 1 million of these potential methylation sites in the DNA fragments found in the blood. And after comparing thousands of cancer, patient blood samples with cancer free samples, we identified the ability to predict the presence of cancer. Recognizing this signature allows braille to determine whether cancer may be present. And if a cancer is present to detect its location within the body with high accuracy, with larger and more diverse datasets grail has continually improved the ability to predict when cancer is present and now has a validated multi cancer early detection test available to healthcare providers. The gallery test is complimentary to current cancer screening approaches and detects over 50 types of cancer. 45 of which have no recommended screening test today using a simple blood draw gallery detects cancers and healthcare providers can direct actionable next steps to confirm the diagnosis. Even before cancer has had a chance to spread early cancer detection has the potential to improve cancer survival because beating cancer starts with knowing you have it. Grail early detection for multiple cancers.

The gallery test is not detect all cancers. It should be used in addition to routine screening tests, false positives and false negatives can occur. The test is available by prescription only.










THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: MEMORIALIZED IN IMAGES









The NY Cancer Resource Alliance, the F.A.C.E.S. Foundation and MOVEMBER hosts the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a special NYCRA-NEWS memorial issue. We proudly feature the powerful and most compelling images of world recognized photographer ANDREA BOOHER - film producer and photojournalist. Ms. Booher has worked as a documentarian for twenty-six years. Based in Colorado, her assignments have taken her to East Africa, Latin America, Micronesia, India, Antarctica, Australia, Myanmar, Somalia, Mexico and Haiti. In the last two decades she has photo-documented every major disaster in the United States, Trust Territories and Sovereign Nations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Her documentary work resides in several permanent collections, including the National Archives and the Smithsonian. In 2001, she spent 10 weeks working at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center attack. She was one of two photographers working for FEMA with unlimited access. Her work from 9-11 has been published in magazines, newspapers and documentaries worldwide. She was personally profiled on A&E, The History Channel, CNN, Camera Arts, NPR and Photo District News. (see video: "A Return to Zero")


FIRST RESPONDERS DEMAND EARLY SCREENING:
by Lt. Chris Conner/ Bedford (TX) Fire Dept. 

Roughly 7 years ago, my partners and I launched F.A.C.E.S. (Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures 501c3) and part of our mission was to support the standardization of affordable repeat genetic testing in firehouses nationwide.  We reviewed a wide list of tests for their efficacy and accessibility.  We were attracted to a few strategies for early detection, and for the money, they served their purpose of altering that a simple blood test told you that you 'may' have cancer.  This did not say where, or how aggressive or how it affected you- but the technology at the time was 'state of the art' for its ability to tell you that you had a problem somewhere, and it was up to further testing to dig in and find it (and treat it, of course).

My commitment to reporting cancer diagnostic solutions to the fire service stems from the undisputed fact that we hold a high level of occupational risks from exposures, whereby finding the latest information about new tools ASAP can save someone's life out there.  Hence, learning about GRAIL and how genetic sequencing works, and specifically the ground-breaking improvements they offer the patient community could support our goals of prevention, early detection and accurate monitoring.  

As with all medical innovations, regulatory approval and public confidence comes from through repeat clinical trials. I found it impressive that they have been 'polishing' their data for many years before deploying them publicly (see their early Pathfinder study, their Cell-free Genome Atlas Study,  and their concept of a Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) - with over 130,000 enrolled study.  The MCED expanded their scope of identifying the cancer type(s), leading the next stage and direction in testing. If companies like GRAIL keeps up this level of focus and quality research, perhaps someday, fast, accurate regular screening and early readings can be part of our life-saving standard.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHRISTOPHER R. CONNER 
- Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic at Bedford FD
As a career firefighter, I personally knew the risks of the job and accepted them if it meant helping others. Early in my career, firefighters that I worked with were getting cancer and losing their battles. I didn't have a full understanding why firefighters were getting cancer until one of my mentors in the fire service was diagnosed. Unfortunately, Keith did not overcome his battle with cancer and it became a personal mission for me to help other firefighters. I learned firsthand that cancer is not just a disease that affects the individual, but it also has affects on families and friends. I have initiated and proposed many cancer preventive policies in the fire service. Additionally, I created a non-profit organization to assist firefighters that are diagnosed with cancer.






REFERENCES:
00) PMC/ "Mammography: a history of success and scientific enthusiasm" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337127/
0) Genetic testing /Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_testing
1) GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection test: https://grail.com/our-products/

2) AAAS/ Science magazine- TECHNOLOGY FEATURE "Catching cancer extremely early"- By Mike May/ Mar. 26, 2021 : https://www.sciencemag.org/features/2021/03/catching-cancer-extremely-early#:~:text=The%20scientists%20reported%3A%20%E2%80%9CPanSeer%20detects,of%20care%E2%80%9D%20(2)

3) Healthline: "Galleri is gathering widespread support" by Jamie Reno on March 17, 2021:  https://www.healthline.com/health-news/this-new-test-can-detect-50-types-of-cancer-from-a-single-blood-draw#Galleri-is-gathering-widespread-support





Sunday, June 27, 2021

LANGUISHING: EMOTIONAL CRISIS FROM THE PANDEMIC

By: Jessica A. Conner-Glynn, LMSW  / Edited by: Cheri Ambrose (NYCRA NEWS writing staff)

Observing the many emotional after-effects of our ‘new Covid lifestyle’, I find a link between stepping away one's our work environment and a direct improvement in one’s well-being. The surge of the coronavirus pandemic brought a unique kind of widespread emotional disorder called LANGUISHING- an issue identified as somewhere between a downturn ‘blah’, emptiness or depression causing a type of burnout from mandatory social distancing.  

Many of us are working really hard in the same place that we actually live- removing that safe separation between work and home that we once had.  The shift in working at home takes away that place to relax and shut down, eventually causing a state of emotional exhaustion from staying ON (and on guard) the whole time.  There is also a physical aspect to all this; the new sedentary lifestyle of working from home eliminates the vital energy stimulation from circulation and cardiovascular activity of physical traveling.  In addition, self-isolating has induced an unhealthy weight gain in many, also adding to this malaise.

This Languishing is one subset of elevated ANXIETY. Whether it be the fear of getting COVID or its effects after having been infected, the wide range of possible effects add a constant load of stress on our sense of stability and peace of mind.  One of the heaviest impacts on the psyche is the LONELINESS that comes from self-isolating. This answers for the rising trend in social anxiety from the abrupt absence of engaging with others (let it be friends and family or just seeing people on the street) – adding to their lack of confidence in the world.  

BREAKDOWN FROM SYSTEMIC PANIC
Heightened anxiety unchecked or unaddressed can lead to a cascade of internal breakdown.  A sense of helplessness and loss of hope from any situation is something we try to prevent as part of our survival instincts. Anxiety and depression are very closely related. In the brain, there is something called the amygdala which carries our fear response.  Enough anxiety can cause this to malfunction from its ability to enact the fight or flight mode- cycling to this sense of helplessness and hopelessness, then driving the anxiety into depression.  “There's nothing I can do to feel better” will turn into “I'm never going to be okay…” then into “The world is a very negative place and I don't want to be here anymore”. 

REVERSING HOPELESSNESS & SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
One of the main focus points in suicide prevention is for people to know that there's somebody out there that can support them- and that THEY ARE NOT ALONE. Suicide prevention hotlines work directly this way, as does psychotherapy, support groups and outreach / interventions- all acts embodying the access to HOPE.

As a professional in practice, my job is to make myself available when someone falls in that space of loss of hopelessness. If I assess that somebody has any sort of suicidal ideation at the end of each session, we do a safety contract. When a safety contract looks like, if you're going to, if you feel scared that you're going to hurt yourself, 

#1. Call 9-1-1

#2. Reach out to me (or your therapist)

#3. Call prevention hotline

Not being alone is actually very helpful. When people are suicidal, they're scared and untrusting of anyone- so we take their calls very seriously.  I can be on the phone with them and actually, virtually walk them to the door of the hospital, affirming that they're going to be safe.


Can an Ultrasound Probe Scan SUICIDAL TENDENCIES or PTSD?
June, 2021- The medical community continues advancing its efforts to mitigate the health effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the 'borderless' collective of scientists and regulatory initiatives, infection rates are now showing a significant drop within vaccinated areas.  In addition, mental health programs are also working full-time to address the pandemic related spike in DEPRESSION cases.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (9/2020) showed an increase in cases 3 times the national count from pre-pandemic years.  Factors such as economic anxieties, social isolation and fears of infection have formed a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS.  Additionally, a recorded rise in substance abuse & a surge in violent crimes are also attributed to this pandemic.

The medical community continues advancing its efforts to mitigate the health effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the 'borderless' collective of scientists and regulatory initiatives, infection rates are now showing a significant drop within vaccinated areas.  In addition, mental health programs are also working full-time to address the pandemic related spike in DEPRESSION cases.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (9/2020) showed an increase in cases 3 times the national count from pre-pandemic years.  Factors such as economic anxieties, social isolation and fears of infection have formed a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS.  Additionally, a recorded rise in substance abuse & a surge in violent crimes are also attributed to this pandemic.


MODERN PROTOCOLS: MODALITY INTEGRATION & HIGH-SPEED COMMUNICATION
Research continues to advance our abilities to diagnose any health issue. As people undergo new and different challenges interpersonally, emotionally and mentally, science also continues to find more efficient tools and approaches to identify disorders and solutions.  The paradigm of INTEGRATING modalities, essentially forming a collaboration between various disciplines is always your best bet to healing- where experts share data and assemble new strategies that would not have been possible if specialists stayed isolated their beliefs.  It is this same teamwork that helped to fast track solutions for the pandemic, what was not evident in other pandemics in history. 

I support the integration of medical imaging technologies to scan, monitor and help assess mental disorders. “Partnerships with imaging experts can be a powerful and scientific game changer- this can allow us to quantify physiological and neurological evidence aligned with these disorders.  Imaging adds a new level of confirmation or data validation to support patient care professionals towards treatment.”

Moreover, our advanced information and communication technologies greatly added to the global collaboration of solutionists. As an example, imagine how the Spanish flu could have been better managed in our digital world?   A brief view of the limited resources in 1918-1920 vs our current tools of today certainly identifies the difference in their respective end points.

5 WAYS TO MANAGE DEPRESSION THE NATURAL WAY 
 
by: Debbie Falborn, RN (aka The Chaga Lady) 

Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in varying levels of adversity. With all health disorders, the fight to restore wellness is a battle that we all deserve to win.  Thanks to our information age, we have access to a world of health solutions ranging from allopathic & pharmaceutical to holistic and naturopathic.  
If quarantining or social distancing has gotten the better of you, here are a few tools to help get you back on track.

¡ STAY IN MOTION: go for walks every hour
¡ GET OUTSIDE: sun, air and space are all mental medicines and grounding
¡ MEDITATE: Center the mind from stress, anxiety and depression
¡ LISTEN TO MUSIC: A great way to keep your mind in motion
¡ EAT SUPERFOODS: Diet and nutrients greatly affect mood and perspective



References:

1) NYT 4/19/2021: There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

2) Verywellmind.com: Languishing Is the Mood of 2021, How to Identify It and How to Cope

3)     CDC: Coping with Stress https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

4) Health.harvard.edu: Could COVID-19 infection be responsible for your depressed mood or anxiety?

5) mdanderson.org: COVID-19 blues vs. depression: How to tell the difference



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JESSICA CONNER-GLYNN, LCSW, CPC, CEC / Dir. of Health Responders Mental Health Program  - As a therapist and coach, a lot of my work with clients is helping to manage symptoms of anxiety and panic- that which manifests in physical, often frightening and alarming ways. We can experience things like racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, numbness in arms and legs which can all make us feel like we are out control of our bodies and our surrounding world. When we have experienced a traumatic event in our lives, these feelings can be even more severe and heightened. The trauma and residually related fear is one that is very close to my heart and a reason I can provide empathy and understanding to clients that have been affected by the horrific day. When we work to process physical emotions that arise from trauma, the hope is that one day we can be less affected by it and live more presently to enjoy life’s fulfilling moments. I work with clients to slowly pull apart the physical emotions we experience from the thoughts that we are having and process them in a more self-aware and grounded way., visit her website- www.jagtheracoach.com


Friday, May 21, 2021

CHAGA MUSHROOM 101: Century Old Healing Option for Complex Disorders

INTRODUCTION
Written by the editorial staff @ Prevention101.org 

In our unending search for "all answers to cancer", Prevention101 reviews all reports and testimonials about CHAGA MUSHROOM- and learned about its remarkable healing properties from nature. Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) was first introduced to me by a patient who reported battling his prostate cancer 'his own way'. He credited much of his success to alternative (non-clinical) efforts from holistic means. 

The name Chaga (pronounced "cha-ga") originates from the Russian word for mushroom (czaga) which is derived from the word for fungus. In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke') translates to "cancer polypore" in reference to its fungal appearance and alleged medicinal properties. [1]  Research showed the medicinal properties of CHAGA has been used for thousands of years in China, Russia, Norway and other cultures (far older than America). In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke') means "cancer polypore" describing what is shown to be its medicinal properties.  [1.5

According to a report in the US Natl. Library of Medicine (NIH), "the analysis of the organic extracts of Chaga revealed birch compounds such as betulin, betulinic acid, and a characteristic fungal molecule inotodiol... observations allow us to consider the therapeutic interest of the Chaga, its chemical complexity, and to emphasize the interest of continuing to investigate mycotherapy potential by associating both chemical and biological approaches." [2]

In March of 2021, NYCRANEWS editors interviewed Debbie Falborn, Pediatric & Home Care Nurse from Sag Harbor, NY and a major wellness resource about the healing powers of Chaga mushroom.  Since her business tenure as co-owner of CHAGA ISLAND INC. (2016-2019), Debbie and partner Bridget LeRoy helped to bring "this  health secret of the east" to many with safe alternatives in anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties through public education and public access to this historically recognized therapeutic option from nature. 

We originally learned about Chaga mushroom and its medicinal qualities from our prior interview with Jim Hunt and his solutions to treat his own prostate cancer.  Debbie Falborn shared her experiences, her research and personal understanding about how this unique treatment solution works.  She employed her talents as a clinician (RN) and a health advisor to cancer patients who showed tremendous success using the mushroom for some of a wide range of health issues.



HEALING PROPERTIES FROM A SINGLE MUSHROOM
By: Debbie Falborn
I was introduced to Chaga Mushrooms many years ago by my sister who is also a registered nurse, but light years ahead of me with her background in Oriental medicine. I was in a car accident and I had a very bad neck injury – resulting in surgeries and subsequent traumas from it.  She introduced Chaga to me, and immediately I felt amazing levels of improvement in my mobility, my neuropathy and other issues from my injury!  

Experts in Chinese medicine are well aware of Chaga for their patients, as it has been around for thousands of years in other cultures like Scandinavia, Russia, China etc. Even an article from Sloan Kettering mentioned that Chaga mushroom is being used in association with Covid, managing influenza type B like a Tamiflu/ They see it as a preventive to help your immune system and keeps you strong and healthy.

From all the global research, Chaga mushroom has an exceptional amount of Betulinic acid which has been found to shrink tumors. It also provides the ability to detox, and many vital supportive nutrients like potassium, zinc, vitamin D- helpful supplements to complement our inactive lifestyle. The way I understand it, Chaga mushroom has been recognized to actually change the mitochondria in the cancer cell, where its compounds can actually break down the outer shell up the cancer cell. 

The active constituents of Chaga are thought to be a combination of amino acids, beta glucans, betulinic acid, calcium, chloride, copper, dietary fiber, enzymes, flavonoids, germanium, inotodiols, iron, lanosterol, manganese, magnesium, melanin, pantothenic acid, phenols, phosphorus, phytonutrients, polysaccharides, potassium, saponins, selenium, sodium, sterols, trametenolic acid, tripeptides, triterpenes, triterpenoids, vanillic acid, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin D2 (ergosterol), vitamin K, and zinc. (source: Debbie Falborn, CHAGA ISLAND INC.) Betulinic acid is a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid which has antiretroviral, antimalarial, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a more recently discovered potential as an anticancer agent, by inhibition of topoisomerase.  


HOW DO YOU FIND IT?
There are specific suppliers online. You can search under “Chaga chunks” or “Chaga mushroom chunks”. It comes from very cold climates. It needs to be taken off LIVE WHITE BIRCH TREES. It can't be off dead trees - so people need to know where it comes from.  Some science that says that the Chaga from Siberia was contaminated by Fukushima because it has to grow for a minimum of 15 years to be hard to stick. So it's a slow growing conch. It feels like wood and it never disintegrates when you cook it.  It will stay this property until all of the goodness is extracted out of it. And then you can just use it as a Tinder in the fire or throw it out. But slow brew it into a tea and it's very strong, very medicinal, and it's pretty remarkable stuff. 

GETTING THE WORD OUT
Years later, I formed a successful business around this with a friend (Bridget Leroy) whose son I helped recover from a very long bout with mono within just a few days with Chaga mushroom tea. We started promoting Chaga Mushroom chunks in health fairs and farmers markets for weight loss, then for things like skin psoriasis.  But soon after, more and more (young) people started coming around searching for it based on their own research to manage cancer.  Most of them were quite verbal about their cancers and raved about their own findings and success with Chaga.  This helped to drive us to build up the entire distributorship and marketing to expand our community reach, and even expanded the product line to include bottling Chaga tea.

The major audience for our Chaga business was mainly those who were needing the strong medicinal version (needed more than just a pre bottled tea). They specifically needed the concentrate from the chunks to brew it themselves as part of their entire health program-- many of which involved special diets, other supplements and things tailored to people undergoing treatments or suffering cancers.

With my background as a registered nurse, I made suggestions based on their blood work and their current symptoms & diagnoses.  They integrated the Chaga information I provided with those from their practitioners as part of a personal integrative health plan.  I would often check in with many of them from time to time to see how they were doing, and I found a lot of incredible success stories to attest to the efficacy of this tea.


Experience-Based Learning about Chaga from Trusted Sources"
-by: Keri Hoyt (Long Island, NY)
I heard of Chaga mushrooms from my girlfriend Keri Stromski* who was an avid researcher in Chinese herbs and alternative treatments. For 4+ years, she valiantly battled breast cancer and she drank chaga tea religiously. Four and a half months from her diagnosis, I understand her tumors shrank significantly. Through all this, I connected with Debbie at the farmer's market where she gave a whole education on Chaga as an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial... and studies show it shrinks tumors, battles Crohn's disease, arthritis, psoriasis, and serves as an overall immunity booster. The Chaga mushroom also helps maintain liver health, lowers blood pressure & cholesterol.  As a cervical cancer survivor, I maintained my health and attribute staying cancer free to things like Chaga... it definitely controlled other major issues I used to have like chronic migraines and psoriasis. ... Whether it be cancer or autoimmune disorders, you truly are what you eat. It's all just a matter of what you put into your body or how your body reacts to these elements- and with the amount of information out there, you'll find so many medicinal qualities from Chaga mushroom that's been discovered for centuries." 

JIM HUNT: MEDICINAL WONDERS SOURCED FROM NORTHERN NATURE
Jim was one of those well researched shoppers at the farmer's market.  He may have sent his mom the first time and I believe she was a wellness or nutrition buff herself. We got to connect by phone at first about his medical history, his lifestyle, his family- and we put it all together towards some kind of a sensible plan alongside working with his physician.  His plan was his own and he did great- he's thriving and doing wonderfully.


WORKING THE BENEFITS OF THE MUSHROOM
During our video interview, Debbie showed us the actual Chaga mushroom chunks, looking like dried dark meat in the palm of her hand.  

You start with four or five 2 inch cubes, fill up a Crock-Pot that should make enough tea to fill an eight quart crock pot twice.  A rule of thumb is to (not boil and) slowly heat the Chaga for 8 hours - however many that can fit in the cup of your hand. It gets to be the color of dark maple syrup, and you can drink it warm or cold.  People can sweeten it if they choose to.  For re-heating (to enjoy it warm), place on the stove in a pot until it get hot, but doesn't boil.   I suggest drinking two cups a day.  Before I started working with so many cancer patients, I used this for DIABETES because it stabilizes blood sugar and blood pressure. 

There's different ways of extracting the benefit. Jim Hunt’s version was to brewed it, using four or five mushrooms in eight quarts of water, put it in the fridge then he took it to work every day in his cooler.  In order to get all of the properties out of the Chaga mushroom, like the BETULINIC ACID, the POLYPHENOLS, the ANTIOXIDANTS and all the different properties that are in it, it has to leach out into the water. So the only way to make that happen is to slow brew it with a continual heat.  

Another way to use it is to grind it into a powder and make it into a tincture with alcohol. It sits for months, and you can put it under your tongue- like any other kind of a tincture.  But for most of the people that I've spoken to (those who are sick), they need the optimal benefit of the tea. And for that is definitely slow brewing it and drinking it out of a cup, like a cup of coffee or tea. That is definitely the best way to do it.

 


Solid Research on a Wellness-driven Lifestyle - by: Tanya Repper
"When you're open to alternatives (nutrition & therapies), you have to dig into the research because it's easy to get swept into the wrong direction. This means talking to actual users, seeking out reputable specialists & researchers and reading from the right sources. I found that Chaga truly helps take out that inflammation. It helps restore your body to the state that it's supposed to be in running optimally and what we keep throwing things at it so that it doesn't do that. And so by drinking Chaga, it truly helps restore your system to the way that it's supposed to be... and to keep those viral infections at bay. We're exposed to inflammation every single day, constantly from the foods we eat to the toxins around us. It helps the good stuff do what it's supposed to do to fight the bad cells that are awakened by the things that you're doing wrong - like being exposed to the toxins that you don't even know you're being exposed to.  


PROLOGUE

On February of 2020, Debbie Falborn liquidated her ownership of Chaga Island at the start of the Covid Pandemic, due in part to the regulated shutdowns of all public gatherings.  She continues her personal initiative an educator and health coach in the wellness community doing private presentations and counsel about prevention, early detection and treatment modalities. Currently, she supports chronic patients as a private home care nurse-  where Chaga mushroom is part of her arsenal of solutions to help manage her many patients health issues.  In addition, she was recently appointed an ambassadorship with the NY Cancer Resource Alliance* and the AngioFoundation (501c3)* as an advocate for naturopathic and alternative medical sciences dedicated to cancer care and prevention.





REFERENCES

2) US Natl Library of Medicine/NIH: "Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a Future Potential Medicinal Fungus in Oncology? A Chemical Study and a Comparison of the Cytotoxicity Against Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells (A549) and Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B)" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142110/

3) NYCRANEWS: "WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE?" 


5) Inonotus Obliquus: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

CHAGA MUSHROOM: Century Old Healing Option for Complex Disorders

MEDICINAL WONDERS HARVESTED FROM NORTHERN NATURE- AND HISTORY!

In my unending search for "all answers to cancer", disease is an historically impressive and what appears to be a remarkable healing answer from nature. CHAGA MUSHROOM was first introduced to me by a patient who claims to battle his prostate cancer 'his own way', crediting much of his success to this solution direct from nature. According to The name Chaga (pronounced "cha-ga") originates from the Russian word for mushroom (czaga) which is derived from the word for fungus. In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke') translates to "cancer polypore" in reference to its fungal appearance and alleged medicinal properties. Research showed the medicinal properties of CHAGA has been used for thousands of years in China, Russia, Norway and other cultures (far older than America). In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke') means "cancer polypore" describing what is shown to be its medicinal properties.  [1] According to a report in the US Natl. Library of Medicine (NIH), "the analysis of the organic extracts of Chaga revealed birch compounds such as betulin, betulinic acid, and a characteristic fungal molecule inotodiol... observations allow us to consider the therapeutic interest of the Chaga, its chemical complexity, and to emphasize the interest of continuing to investigate mycotherapy potential by associating both chemical and biological approaches." [2]

In March of 2021, NYCRANEWS editors interviewed Debbie Falborn, Pediatric & Home Care Nurse from Sag Harbor, NY and a major wellness resource about the healing powers of Chaga mushroom.  Since her business tenure as co-owner of CHAGA ISLAND INC. (2016-2019), Debbie and partner Bridget LeRoy helped to bring "this  health secret of the east" to many with safe alternatives in anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties through public education and public access to this historically recognized therapeutic option from nature. 

In support of INTEGRATIVE research and treatment modalities, recognized leader in Onco-Immunology, Dr. Jesse A. Stoff (NY) supports the global philosophy of drawing answers to cancer from all areas of research, from ancient cultural remedies to modern clinical science. One of the sciences that came out of INTEGRATIVE healing is Immunotherapy - the applied science known as "the smartest and safest ways to battle any disease" by strengthening your body's immune system and let your body's defenses do its job.   They pursue the most basic tenets of logic and a sensible healing plan to attack the patient's health problems and any disease without making new problems (called side effects).  Dr. Stoff trademarked a clever breakdown for what triggers immune disfunction- what he calls "The PITTS"; Poor nutrition, Infection, Toxins, Trauma and Stress. [3]

We originally learned about Chaga mushroom and its medicinal qualities from our prior interview with Jim Hunt and his solutions to treat his own prostate cancer.  Debbie shared her experiences, her research and personal understanding about how this unique treatment solution works.  She employed her talents as a clinician (RN) and a health advisor to cancer patients who showed tremendous success using the mushroom for some of a wide range of health issues.



HEALING PROPERTIES FROM A SINGLE MUSHROOM
By: Debbie Falborn
I was introduced to Chaga Mushrooms many years ago by my sister who is also a registered nurse, but light years ahead of me with her background in Oriental medicine. I was in a car accident and I had a very bad neck injury – resulting in surgeries and subsequent traumas from it.  She introduced chaga to me, and immediately I felt amazing levels of improvement in my mobility, my neuropathy and other issues from my injury!  

Experts in Chinese medicine are well aware of chaga for their patients, as it has been around for thousands of years in other cultures like Scandinavia, Russia, China etc. Even an article from Sloan Kettering mentioned that chaga mushroom is being used in association with Covid, managing influenza type B like a Tamiflu/ They see it as a preventive to help your immune system and keeps you strong and healthy.

From all the global research, chaga mushroom has an exceptional amount of Betulinic acid which has been found to shrink tumors. It also provides the ability to detox, and many vital supportive nutrients like potassium, zinc, vitamin D- helpful supplements to complement our inactive lifestyle. The way I understand it, chaga mushroom has been recognized to actually change the mitochondria in the cancer cell, where its compounds can actually break down the outer shell up the cancer cell. 

The active constituents of chaga are thought to be a combination of amino acids, beta glucans, betulinic acid, calcium, chloride, copper, dietary fiber, enzymes, flavonoids, germanium, inotodiols, iron, lanosterol, manganese, magnesium, melanin, pantothenic acid, phenols, phosphorus, phytonutrients, polysaccharides, potassium, saponins, selenium, sodium, sterols, trametenolic acid, tripeptides, triterpenes, triterpenoids, vanillic acid, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin D2 (ergosterol), vitamin K, and zinc. (source: Debbie Falborn, CHAGA ISLAND INC.)

Betulinic acid
 is a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid which has antiretroviral, antimalarial, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a more recently discovered potential as an anticancer agent, by inhibition of topoisomerase.  


HOW DO YOU FIND IT?
There are specific suppliers online. You can search under “chaga chunks” or “chaga mushroom chunks”. It comes from very cold climates. It needs to be taken off LIVE WHITE BIRCH TREES. It can't be off dead trees - so people need to know where it comes from.  Some science that says that the chaga from Siberia was contaminated by Fukushima because it has to grow for a minimum of 15 years to be hard to stick. So it's a slow growing conch. It feels like wood and it never disintegrates when you cook it.  It will stay this property until all of the goodness is extracted out of it. And then you can just use it as a Tinder in the fire or throw it out. But slow brew it into a tea and it's very strong, very medicinal, and it's pretty remarkable stuff. 

GETTING THE WORD OUT
Years later, I formed a successful business around this with a friend (Bridget Leroy) whose son I helped recover from a very long bout with mono within just a few days with chaga mushroom tea. We started promoting Chaga Mushroom chunks in health fairs and farmers markets for weight loss, then for things like skin psoriasis.  But soon after, more and more (young) people started coming around searching for it based on their own research to manage cancer.  Most of them were quite verbal about their cancers and raved about their own findings and success with Chaga.  This helped to drive us to build up the entire distributorship and marketing to expand our community reach, and even expanded the product line to include bottling chaga tea.

The major audience for our chaga business was mainly those who were needing the strong medicinal version (needed more than just a pre bottled tea). They specifically needed the concentrate from the chunks to brew it themselves as part of their entire health program-- many of which involved special diets, other supplements and things tailored to people undergoing treatments or suffering cancers.

With my background as a registered nurse, I made suggestions based on their blood work and their current symptoms & diagnoses.  They integrated the chaga information I provided with those from their practitioners as part of a personal integrative health plan.  I would often check in with many of them from time to time to see how they were doing, and I found a lot of incredible success stories to attest to the efficacy of this tea.

JIM HUNT
Jim was one of those well researched shoppers at the farmer's market.  He may have sent his mom the first time and I believe she was a wellness or nutrition buff herself. We got to connect by phone at first about his medical history, his lifestyle, his family- and we put it all together towards some kind of a sensible plan alongside working with his physician.  His plan was his own and he did great- he's thriving and doing wonderfully.


WORKING THE BENEFITS OF THE MUSHROOM
During our video interview, Debbie showed us the actual chaga mushroom chunks, looking like dried dark meat in the palm of her hand.  

You start with four or five 2 inch cubes, fill up a Crock-Pot that should make enough tea to fill an eight quart crock pot twice.  A rule of thumb is to boil just however many that can fit in the cup of your hand. It gets to be the color of dark maple syrup, and you can drink it warm or cold.  People can sweeten it if they choose to.  I suggest a true stove top boil, better than microwave to get the most out of it. I suggest two cups a day.  Before I started working with so many cancer patients, I used this for DIABETES because it stabilizes blood sugar and blood pressure. 

There's different ways of extracting the benefit. Jim Hunt’s version was to brewed it, using four or five mushrooms in eight quarts of water, put it in the fridge then he took it to work every day in his cooler.  In order to get all of the properties out of the chaga mushroom, like the BETULINIC ACID, the POLYPHENOLS, the ANTIOXIDANTS and all the different properties that are in it, it has to leach out into the water. So the only way to make that happen is to slow brew it with a continual heat.  

Another way to use it is to grind it into a powder and make it into a tincture with alcohol. It sits for months, and you can put it under your tongue- like any other kind of a tincture.  But for most of the people that I've spoken to (those who are sick), they need the optimal benefit of the tea. And for that is definitely slow brewing it and drinking it out of a cup, like a cup of coffee or tea. That is definitely the best way to do it.


Debbie Falborn closed Chaga Island in early 2020- at the start of the Covid Pandemic due to the regulated shutdowns of all public gatherings.  She remains a recognized figure and an educational resource in the wellness community.  She continues to support patients as a private home care nurse, where chaga mushroom remains a major part of her arsenal in managing her patients.  





REFERENCES

2) US Natl Library of Medicine/NIH: "Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a Future Potential Medicinal Fungus in Oncology? A Chemical Study and a Comparison of the Cytotoxicity Against Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells (A549) and Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B)" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142110/

3) NYCRANEWS: "WHAT IS INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE?" 


5) Inonotus Obliquus: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus

Monday, March 22, 2021

STRAIGHT TALK GOT ME TO VACCINATE


Op Ed: ABOUT GETTING THE SHOT
By: Leopoldo Gratzi, Ed.D

NYCRA-NEWS launched the "GET THE SHOT" campaign, kicked off with by Dr. Richard Schulder (R) and the many front line health responders who posted their vaccination selfies on Linkedin.  Contrary to the very program I designed to bring prevention and safety to the public, I write this segment confessing my (then) conflicted thoughts about the vaccine.  The barrage of pros and cons from the media who all drove their hardline versions of "convincing truths" constantly fed trepidation and confusion in me.  As a publisher of health news, I wrestled daily with my social responsibility vs. my fears fueled by the daily data overload.

Adding to my struggling lack of faith was the challenge of getting the vaccine for my elderly family members (back in January of this year). Long waits, broken websites and insane lines for appointments turned into dis-appointments with zero inventory certainly took all the desire out of getting vaccinated.


"CLEAR TALK FROM THE DOCS"
I became a medical publisher to offer Scientists, Doctors and Researchers an educational platform to impart their experience-based wisdom to the general public. After conducting enough interviews with medical professionals explaining in clear English WHY they trust the vaccine, I found great peace and personal value in their logic.  Their sensible guidance broke through my fears and questioning mind, such that this compelled me to share their viewpoints to others. But more than my public service, I also realized that I was gathering their views to quell my OWN resistance from getting the shot.

Front liners and essential workers are at the top of the list for the simple reason that their work does not lend itself the option to self-isolate.  If there was a group of people who understood infection, contamination and prevention, physicians make it their business to do their 'homework' on the vaccine- enough to personally support hoping to educate the skeptics, the nay-sayers and the fear-mongers.

I found the source of our divided community to stem from confusion  overwhelming flood of digital information vs. the the emotional and psychological tolls (from the pandemic) on the public. "I got the shot to get back to work, but I can empathize those who resist it -- it takes strength and a lot of  energy to TRUST anything (ie. the government) after a year of mask-wearing, half a million deaths and a life upside down!" - says Elizabeth Cristi, home health aide.

Speaking out to all public concerns, Dr. Stephen Chagares shared his own personal findings (through the use of 1st grade math) to verify why the vaccine is SAFE and NOT RUSHED- for himself, his family and for the community.  A talented educator to his patients, Dr. Chagares drives compelling statements with the help of reputable references to support herd immunity as a sound strategy for reversing the pandemic. "The very first recipients of the vaccine were healthcare personnel... the same people who treat and restore the ill. 


SPRING IS HERE
March 2021. US news reports 447 million doses have been administered at an estimated pace of 11 million doses a day- covering 1/4 of the US population. At least four companies are successfully manufacturing and distributing a tested and proven vaccine with more underway in the next few weeks. Appointments in vaccination sites are (now) happening on a next-day basis with no issues or delays.  Truly a different environment from January.

Sunday, 3/21 - Quietly sitting in the mandatory post-vaccination 15 minute waiting room, I reflected on how quickly and efficiently I got my shot (@ a CVS in Auburndale in Queens, NY).  With a strange calm, I first texted Dr. Chagares with a big smile underneath my double mask "I'm here because of your interview on the vaccine!" attaching my selfie (R), just like the ones my docs posted on social media. 

In closing, I see the vaccine resistance is a direct stand on our personal independence.  This is reflective on our cynicism and our unrelenting ability to question authority. But as a people, we also hold the ability to band together, self-motivate and shape our beliefs for the greater good- especially in times of crisis. Dr. Chagares and the many health responders who speak out or post their selfies getting the shot are clearly endorsing the return of our way of life and a healthy community.  If the pandemic challenge is earning public trust, "Straight Talk from the Docs" got one more subscriber to join the movement of social responsibility. 

This is US.


My Vaccination Debate - by: Anthony J. Carfang

I marvel at the wonders of modern medical science and its gifts to mankind.  However, I am even more amazed at the miraculous recuperative powers of the human body.  So much so that I absolutely hate to have anything foreign enter my system.  I avoid pills and supplements.  Until this year, I had never taken the flu shot! My logic about the flu shot was simple: 1) follow all the health protocols and sanitary precautions, 2) avoid people with flu symptoms.  I further reasoned that I would have time to seek care if I did catch the flu.  It worked for decades. Those assumptions don't work for Covid.  Asymptomatic spread makes it impossible to avoid the virus, even by diligently following the protocols.  Further, I've seen friends and relatives progress from mild symptoms to hospitalization in a matter of hours.  That made a vaccine believer out of me.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Anthony Carfang is a board member of Survivingbreastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting those who have been touched by breast cancer. Whether you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed, know someone who has breast cancer, have been diagnosed yourself or carry one of the gene mutations, we understand that a breast cancer diagnosis can be life changing and overwhelming. Out of the need to navigate the uncertainty and the strong desire for connection, support, and resources, survivingbreastcancer.org was born.




REFERENCES

1) “Operation Warp Speed selects billionaire scientist’s COVID-19 vaccine for monkey tests” https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/operation-warp-speed-selects-billionaire-scientist-s-covid-19-vaccine-monkey-tests

2) How were researchers able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly? https://news.uchicago.edu/story/how-were-researchers-able-develop-covid-19-vaccines-so-quickly

3) “How did we develop a COVID-19 vaccine so quickly?”  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-did-we-develop-a-covid-19-vaccine-so-quickly

4) “Fact check: The vaccine for COVID-19 has been nearly 20 years in the making” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/01/21/fact-check-covid-19-vaccine-nearly-20-years-making/3873247001/

5) “A Timeline of COVID-19 Vaccine Development”  https://www.biospace.com/article/a-timeline-of-covid-19-vaccine-development/

6) National Geographic: “COVID-19 requires the world to consider 'unconventional approaches'” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/to-make-a-coronavirus-vaccine-we-may-need-to-deliberately-infect-people

7) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-12/u-s-hits-100-million-dose-mark-three-months-into-vaccine-push