Happy Friday, and welcome to the sixth edition of the Integrative Medicine Reading List! 

This is where I share the most interesting holistic health and integrative medicine articles and studies I’ve read recently. Those are broad topics, so you’ll find a wide variety of things to read here. It’s all stuff I’ve read and found interesting, so I hope you like it too. This sixth edition wound up being a lot about brain and mental health, which is a big passion of mine. There are articles about fecal transplants for Autism Spectrum Disorder, cortisol and brain size, mental health in medicine and more. I think my favorite opinion article is The Self-Care Paradox, which is definitely worth a read. I hope you find something you like!

Previous editions you may have missed: One | Two | Three | Four | Five 

Disclaimer: Sharing these articles on my site does not constitute a personal or professional endorsement. It’s important to hear many view points and gather lots of data so we can come to our own conclusions about issues. And as always, nothing on my website is to be taken as medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any changes.

Autism Symptoms Reduced Nearly 50% 2 Years After Fecal Transplant 

“Kids with autism are lacking important beneficial bacteria and have fewer options in the bacterial menu of important functions that bacteria provide to the gut than typically developing kids,” Krajmalnik-Brown said.

Gut Issues In Childhood May Predict Future Mental Health Problems

“Our study is among the first to link disruption of a child’s gastrointestinal microbiome triggered by early-life adversity with brain activity in regions associated with emotional health,” study lead author Bridget Callaghan, a post-doctoral research fellow in Columbia’s psychology department, told Columbia News.

Stress Can Shrink Your Brain

“These were not changes big enough that anyone would notice a clinical problem, but we know such differences are associated with a greater risk of dementia two to three years down the road,” she says. “The results were alarming, however, because the changes were seen when these individuals were in their forties.” A link between stress and dementia has been established. The Alzheimer’s Society says that stress affects the immune system, which is known to play an important role in the development of dementia. Furthermore, stress has been tied to conditions such as depression and anxiety, which are thought to be factors that could increase risk of dementia.

and an important follow up article that stresses the importance of reading the actual studies, not just attention grabbing headlines…

Don’t Stress Out Yet About Stress Shrinking Your Brain 

Still, McEwen cautions readers against jumping to the conclusion that since cortisol is involved, stress is to blame. It’s true, surprising, stressful events can make your glands start squirting out cortisol. But other insults can do the same thing: the body uses cortisol to tamp down inflammation, for example. So chronic inflammation can also cause cortisol to rise. “It’s a cop out if you just dump this on the word stress,” McEwen says.

The Self-Care Paradox

Wellness has become a stand-in for many people who have received unsatisfactory care from the medical establishment. But self-care isn’t health care. The problem is exacerbated when wellness practitioners make overblown claims about products and treatments, couching their practices in pseudoscientific language. Why does a massage need to release your toxins, boost your immune system, and stimulate your colon? Why can’t it just be something that feels good and is relaxing?

The Mental Health Crisis Among Doctors In Training