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The Truth Will Free You

The Truth Will Free You

The last several days have brought us fall-like weather: cooler temperatures and sunny skies. There are usually fifteen days a year in Memphis when the air is cool, crisp and clean. The leaves will be turning color soon and the Holidays will be upon us before no time. What I hear most is the arrival of college football. It seems everybody has a favorite team both college and professional.

I started playing football when I was eight years-old. I weighed one-hundred twenty pounds. Our team was in a league that had a weight limit for all players based on age. The only group of kids I could play with were the eleven and twelve year-olds because the weight limit for the freshman and junior varsity teams was ninety pounds. So I played up. The top weight allowed was one hundred twenty pounds on the varsity squad without pads.

We had to weigh in before every game. My grandmother heard that a cottage cheese and grapefruit diet would help me lose weight. So I had to eat cottage cheese and grapefruit at almost every meal. I did not lose weight, but I lost my taste for cottage cheese and grapefruit. I made weight every game for four years. The team coaches were fine men in their fifties. They were dedicated too. Fall brings back all of the past memories that were etched in my mind during that period of the year. It seems that fall was always my best season of the four.

Fall is a season that personifies change as does Spring. The difference is that fall ushers in a time of harvest and spring brings new growth. Fall allows us the benefit of reaping what we had sown in the months preceding, spring allows us the benefit of planting for the fall. Fall brings a sense of preparing for the barrenness of winter; it brings a kind of calm. Our circadian rhythms belong to the Gaia of which all seasonal rhythms belong. Our bodies and our minds move along the same path that nature does over and over again.

So how does the summer to fall season change affect our health? In many ways. The weather changes are usually welcomed: the hot humid summer air transforms to a cooler, dryer climate almost overnight. Fall brings Ragweed season which begins as early as July and lasts until the first hard frost. Ragweed pollen is too tiny to see and nearly impossible to avoid entirely. The pollen count is higher on windy days and in the early mornings when plants give off the allergen. Ragweed plants also emit more pollen as they dry after rain. Many people react to Ragweed pollen by having congestion, runny noses, itchy burning eyes and sneezing. November brings rain, more rain than any other month of the year in the Mid-South. Dampness brings molds. Many times chronic active infections can mimic the symptoms associated with allergic reactions.

The cooler weather brings on the Flu season. Three virus families, Influenza virus A, B, and C are the main infective agents that cause influenza. During periods of cooler temperature in both hemispheres, influenza cases increase roughly tenfold or more. Despite higher incidence of manifestations of the flu during the season, the viruses are actually transmitted throughout populations all year round. The exact mechanism behind the seasonal nature of influenza outbreaks is unknown. The data supports some kind of biorhythm to the infectious nature of Influenza, but no one has been able to propose a theory that holds muster after rigorous scientific study is applied. Fortunately we recognize the increase risk of contracting the Flu during the late fall and scientists have not dismissed the cooler weather pattern as poppycock because they cannot uncover the reason for the increase number of cases. Incidentally, no one knows how the Flu vaccine works despite billions of dollars of research. The advertisements for Flu shots will begin in just a couple of weeks. Cooler weather brings profits to the pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies too.

When the body enters the fall season, it manifests changes through the actions of hormones which alter human biorhythms. Biorhythm research does not lend itself to traditional linear scientific study because rhythms are fractal and manifest non-linear patterns, just like all natural orders. Both men and women have subtle changes in their biorhythms during each season, some more than others.

People in general have a favorite season, during which they feel the most physiologically comfortable in all ways. The opposite is also true, people have a least favorite season, many of whom choose winter as their least favorite because of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood disorder linked to the reduction of sunlight during the winter months.

Many physicians have opined that the pineal gland influences pituitary gland function to create biorhythm changes. The pituitary receives most of its stimulus from the hypothalamus region of the brain. How these three vital areas interact between each other rendering changes in hormone activity remains a mystery. Another mystery is how seasonal climate change illicits or signals the need for the biorhythmic changes to occur. We typically see changes in behavior of insects, plants and animals when the seasons change. Bears hibernate for the winter. Birds migrate for the winter. Insects seem to remain in suspended animation until the great thaw of spring arrives. Many species of fish migrate to their spawning grounds in the fall. People tend to have more subtle changes, but changes none-the-less.

The recent changes in weather signal the coming of Fall. I think our biorhythms will change to match the fall season. Fall is a time when allergies for some people are unbearable and influenza spreads amongst the population for some unknown reason.

Fall has always been good to me. Fall and football go together as well as harvest festivals, county and state fairs and hot tea. Take a moment to think about your favorite season and look for changes in your emotional, physical and intellectual self.

The truth will free you!

Doc

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 10:24 AM
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