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January 1, 2023

The Ability Connection

Issue #4

January is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Awareness Month

CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that can be caused by repeated head trauma or from the progression of uncontrolled epilepsy.  The disease causes brain damage and the symptoms observed are a result of substantial loss of brain function. They include:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Changes in personality
  • Erratic behavior- aggression and depression
  • Difficulties with maintaining balance and use of motor skills

While there are no known treatment options, the condition can be managed by self-care and avoiding future head traumas. Therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, may help manage the condition.  Because there is no cure, prevention is key.  Be sure to wear the appropriate protective equipment playing sports and tell your parents and doctor if you have ever had any head traumas in practice or games.  If you have any of the symptoms listed above, see your physician immediately.

January is also Thyroid Awareness Month

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. Its main role in the endocrine system is to regulate your metabolism, which is your body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. The two main hormones the thyroid produces and releases are T3 (tri-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). Thyroid disease affects approximately 200 million people worldwide. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause depression, tremors, muscle weakness and constant fatigue. During January, experts educate and encourage the general public to perform regular thyroid neck self-exams. The most common thyroid disorders:

  • Goiters: A goiter is a bulge or enlargement in the neck, associated with hyperthyroidism or an iodine deficiency.
  • Hyperthyroidism: This condition is caused by too much thyroid hormone, due to an over-stimulated thyroid and inflamed tissues.
  • Hypothyroidism: This condition is caused by too little thyroid hormone. It is more common in women and can go undiagnosed for years.

An underactive thyroid is generally associated with some weight gain. Most of the extra weight gained in hypothyroid individuals is due to excess accumulation of salt and water. Massive weight gain is rarely associated with hypothyroidism. In general, 5-10 pounds of body weight may be attributable to the thyroid, depending on the severity of the hypothyroidism. Since much of the weight gain in hypothyroidism is accumulation of salt and water, when the hypothyroidism is treated, one can expect a small (usually less than 10% of body weight) weight loss. While thyroid goiters, nodules, or cancers are typically found through self-exams, other thyroid conditions are often identified through various symptoms. The common signs and symptoms for hypo- and hyper- thyroidism are:


  • Weight loss
  • Fast heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Problems sleeping
  • Hair loss
  • Feeling hot
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal menstrual periods


  • Weight gain
  • Slow heart rate
  • Depressed mood
  • Feeling sluggish or tired
  • Hair loss
  • Feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

It is important to talk with your doctor about any signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. A physical examination is an important part to diagnosing any thyroid condition; your doctor may palpate or feel your neck for any abnormalities or enlargements. Blood samples may be taken and can include a TSH, T3 and T4, as well as any other labs your physician feels are necessary. Treatment will be determined by your doctor but may include thyroid hormones taken in a pill form for hypothyroidism and anti-thyroid medication for those with hyperthyroidism.

What’s happening: Adaptive Lifestyle Program

Bio Ability offers an Adaptive Lifestyle Program to assist you with lifestyle changes that can help you improve your health and quality of life.  Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States and are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. 

Many chronic diseases are caused by a short list of behaviors: physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking, etc.  Our Adaptive Lifestyle Program is designed to meet you where you are at and supplement what you and your doctor are already working on.  It includes recommendations for appropriate lifestyle adaptations including healthy eating recommendations and individualized adaptive exercises to help you meet your goals and improve your overall health.

Exercise of the Month- Exercise for Weight Loss

Weight loss a common New Year’s goal. There are many factors that affect one’s ability to lose weight. Obviously healthy eating and watching caloric intake is important. Most people realize exercise is an important part of any successful weight loss plan as well. But what type of exercise should you do if you want to lose weight? Start by focusing on cardiovascular exercise. This is any exercise using large muscle groups that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for an extended amount of time. Walking is a great place to start and doesn’t require any special equipment except a good pair of walking shoes. Start slowly and work up to 30 minutes over time.  If walking is difficult for you, find something else that you can do comfortably and without pain such as biking, rowing, or water exercises. Once you can comfortably work up to 30 minutes of some form of cardio a day, you can consider adding time or intervals to your cardio workout. Intervals will mean adding short bursts of harder activity into your walking or other exercise. It may mean going faster or with a higher resistance for a minute.

Once you reach a pace that your time and energy can tolerate, consider adding some muscle conditioning exercises. Schedule exercise time for yourself on the calendar. If it’s important enough for you, it should be on your schedule. Doing something daily helps you to form a habit. Resign yourself to the fact that you will be exercising daily even if you only have 10 minutes available on some days. For long-term weight loss and keeping that weight off, it is important that whatever you do to lose the weight becomes a life-long habit. Schedule a consultation with one of our staff today for our Adaptive Lifestyle Program for Weight Loss.  It will include an exercise program that is right for you. 

Recipe of the Month: No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Bars Recipe (


2 cups rolled oats
1½ cups rice cereal
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup peanut butter
4 ounces chopped 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, or ¾ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1 cup (about 5 ounces) dried cherries


  1. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of paper to hang over the sides.
  2. Combine oats, rice cereal and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Melt together peanut butter, chocolate chips, coconut oil and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Pour wet mixture over oat mixture. Stir to combine.
  5. Stir in dried cherries.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Press to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.
  7. Chill for at least 3 hours. Remove from pan using overhang of paper as handles. Cut into 28 bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition facts:

Serving size: 1 bar
Serves 28

Calories: 141; Total fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 70mg; Carbohydrates: 19g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 9g; Protein: 3g; Potassium: 112mg; Phosphorus: 83mg

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