How to Test Your Thyroid Function at Home

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Test Your Thyroid Function at Home

Over 27 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.  Unfortunately, a whopping 60% do not even know they have this condition.  This is because most doctors are not testing for it or they are not doing the full thyroid panel that is necessary to diagnose a thyroid condition.  In this article, I will show you how to test your thyroid function at home for free.

If you are a woman, you have a 75% greater risk of developing a thyroid problem than if you are a man!  80% of these thyroid conditions are thought to be autoimmune in nature, where the body’s immune system is attacking the thyroid tissue (1).

Unfortunately, most people struggle with poor thyroid hormone expression and are never properly diagnosed or treated to improve their quality of life and overall functionality.  The purpose of this article is to give you an easy to perform home test you can do to tip off a possible thyroid problem and get the proper testing from your doctor.

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Thyroid Hormone and Body Temperature

Thyroid hormone plays a major role in the metabolism of every cell of the body.  It helps to increase the metabolic activity of the vast majority of cells and helps to regulate the body’s temperature levels.  When thyroid hormone expression is dysregulated, body temperature will be altered.

In addition, the individual may experience a number of other unwanted symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, menstrual or fertility problems, fatigue, dry skin and hair, high cholesterol and more.  I go over these symptoms in detail in this article.

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Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

One of the major clinical signs of hypothyroidism is low body temperature.  Analyzing the bodies basal body temperature (BBT) through axillary (underarm) testing is a fantastic way to assess your thyroid function in a low-cost, non-invasive way.

This test was popularized by Dr Broda Barnes MD, and has been used by many medical and natural health care practitioners over the years (2).  Some research has been doing on BBT, showing that it is highly correlated with low thyroid activity (3)

While most people are aware that the standard body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, the normal underarm temperature is 97.8-98.2 deg F or 36.6-37 deg C.  If your temperature is consistently under 97.4 deg F or 36.5 deg C, then you most likely have under functioning thyroid activity.  If the temperature is consistently above 99 degrees than you may have hyperactive thyroid activity.

The Importance of Basal Body Temperature

Low body temperature is not only an indication of a possible thyroid or adrenal dysfunction, but it can also create an environment for worsening problems.  Our body temperature is critical for optimal immune function, circulation, enzyme activity and more (4).

A lower than normal body temperature creates an environment that is ripe for pathogens like bacteria and viruses.  The reason we create a high temperature fever when we have a bacterial infection or a flu is that the high temperature is inhospitable for the bacteria and viruses and it activates powerful immune activities within the body.

Additionally, enzymes are temperature dependent and won’t function well at lower than optimal temperature ranges.  A low-body temp will reduce overall enzyme activity which slows the bodies intracellular metabolism and causes an inability to buffer oxidative stress effectively.  It also leads to poor digestion and sluggish gut and liver metabolism and an inability to deactivate and excrete toxins from the body.

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Instructions for The Basal Body Temp

  1. Get an old-fashioned mercury thermometer or Galinstan and put it by your bedside.
  2. Shake it down to 95 degrees F (35 degrees C).
  3. Upon arising in the morning, before you get out of bed or eat or drink anything, put the thermometer deep in your armpit for 10 minutes and record the temperature.  Be sure to place it against your skin with the tip facing up into the armpit region.
  4. This process allows you to measure your lowest temperature of the day.
  5. The temperature should be taken for 4 consecutive days.

*If you are using an oral thermometer in the mouth for this, you must realize that the oral temp is typically about a ½ degree higher.  So be sure to subtract ½ degree from your result to make it closer to your underarm temperature. If using the Galinstan or mercury thermometer in your mouth…leave it in for 5 minutes.

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Menstrual Cycle and BBT

Since women are 75% more likely to have a thyroid problem, we should obviously address the role of menstruation in the BBT reading.  If you are menstruating, your temperature will naturally be higher during ovulation as it makes the egg more fertile.  This increase in temperature will skew the results.

For this reason, menstruating women should not take the test during ovulation but instead should begin on the 2nd day of menstruation and should never get closer to 4 days pre-ovulation for accurate readings.

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Other Factors Involved in BBT Readings

If you have an infection or a fever, do not take the test as your temperature will naturally be skewed.  Infections and fevers drive up body temperature and may cause a false negative.  If you notice the temperature going up and down…with large gaps between days it is a sign of adrenal hormone dysregulation.

As you age, the temperature may be lower which could definitely have to do with the thyroid, but confirmative blood testing is always the best way to know for sure.  If your temperature is high, yet you have hypothyroid symptoms or have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism it may be a sign of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmunity against your thyroid.

In autoimmune based hypothyroidism, at times thyroid hormones can range and there is an increased amount of inflammation within the body.  Both of these mechanisms can raise the BTT.  High temperatures can also be a sign of anemia or low estrogen levels.

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Confirmation Testing

As a functional health doctor, I do not use the BBT as a definitive test for thyroid function.  But it can be a helpful pre-assessment.  There are other factors that will impact the BBT, such as:

  1. Active Infection in the Body
  2. Ovulation
  3. Getting up and moving in the morning before testing
  4. Adrenal Function – low adrenal output can lead to low temperature while high adrenal output can increase the temperature.

This is why I would follow up the testing with lab testing.  In particular, be sure to test all the thyroid markers including TSH, T4, T3, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, TPO antibodies and TG antibodies.  We have all of these tests and much more in our Total Thyroid panel.   We explain these tests in detail in this article.

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Using the BTT for Thyroid and Adrenals

An individual can use this test to help them find out about their thyroid function as well as adrenals.  In fact, you can see how your supplement or medication dosage is supporting your body.  Here are 5 ways this test can benefit your treatment

  • After several days of taking a thyroid medication or thyroid glandular, you should begin noticing an improvement in the temperature.
  • It can help you change the dosage of your thyroid medication or supplement.
  • It can help you assess your adrenal function, which plays a role in the basal temperature as well.  This is most notable in phase IIIA-IIID adrenal dysfunction.
  • It can help you change the dosage of your adrenal supplements based on the results you are getting.

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Using BTT to Look at Adrenal Function

The adrenals work to increase blood flow throughout the body as cortisol works with its cousin aldosterone, which are both made in the adrenal cortex.  Cortisol helps to maintain blood sugar, while aldosterone helps to retain sodium and maintain blood pressure.  When we retain more sodium, we also retain more water, which increases blood volume and blood pressure.  When we retain less sodium, we also retain less water, which decreases blood volume and blood pressure.

When people have hypertension or high blood pressure, they often take an aldosterone converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) to lower aldosterone levels and therefore lower blood pressure.  When the signaling process in the body, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is dysregulated, we can end up with either high or low cortisol/aldosterone levels.

Low blood pressure (under 100 systolic and 60 diastolic) is a common symptom for an individual with low cortisol, while high blood pressure (over 140 systolic and 100 diastolic) is common for individuals with high cortisol.  Other symptoms associated with HPA or adrenal dysfunction I discuss in detail in this article.

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Testing Your Adrenals with BTT

The way most people experience low morning cortisol would be in an inability to get out of bed.  It just seems so hard to drag yourself out of bed.  If this is the case, it is most likely a low functional HPA axis in the morning.

To test your BTT to analyze cortisol levels throughout the day, follow the following strategy:

  1. 3 Hours after waking
  2. 3 Hours after that (6 hours after waking)
  3. 3 Hours after that (9 hours after waking)
  4. Take these 3 temperatures and add them up and divide by 3 to get your daily average temperature (DATS).
  5. Do this for 5 days and analyze the results of each day. If any of the days temps are more than .2F (or .1C) off from another, it may be a sign of adrenal dysfunction.

We don’t want to test in the evening or at night because cortisol should normally be low at that stage.  Cortisol should be at its highest in the morning and slowly taper down as the day goes on.

If you are using a new adrenal supplement, give it 5 days before you begin testing to give it time to work on the HPA axis before doing a 5 day DATS.  Some other home tests you could do to test your adrenal function include static blood pressure, orthostatic blood pressure and the pupillary constriction test.  I explain these in great detail in this article.

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What is the Best Thermometer to Use?

Most specialists believe that the digital thermometers are not accurate enough and the temp range can vary significantly.  It is recommended to use the old-fashioned mercury thermometer.  The downside of a mercury thermometer is that if it were to break, toxic mercury vapor would be released.

I recommend a Galinstan, which is a liquid non-mercury thermometer that has a great degree of accuracy.  If you are going to use a digital thermometer, this one seems to have the best reviews.

With the Galinstan or mercury thermometer, be sure to shake it down to 95F/35C degrees the night before checking or if doing the adrenal test, right before testing.  Be sure to hold it under your armpit for a full 10 minutes before checking.

While the temperature is recording, you could read a book or website, listen to light music or watch a video.  Be sure not to move around other than the lightest of movements as needed.  For ways to improve thyroid function, read this article and if you are looking to improve adrenal function than you will want to read this article.

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Sources For This Article:

1. Prummel MF, Strieder T, Wiersinga WM. The environment and autoimmune thyroid diseases. Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 May;150(5):605-18. PMID: 15132715
2. Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness com
3. Sehnert KW, Croft AC. Basal metabolic temperature vs. laboratory assessment in “posttraumatic hypothyroidism”. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Jan;19(1):6-12. PMID: 8903695
4. Ruiz MN, García JM, Fernández BM. [Body temperature and its importance as a vital constant]. Rev Enferm. 2009 Sep;32(9):44-52. Review. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 19839238

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How to Properly Test Thyroid Function

How to Properly Test Thyroid Function Hypothyroidism is one of the fastest growing health conditions we are seeing today. Lethargy, depression and weight gain are the most common symptoms (1). It has been estimated that 27 million people in America struggle with some form of thyroid disease and up to 80 percent of hypothyroidism cases […]

The post How to Properly Test Thyroid Function appeared first on DrJockers.com.

8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

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8 Ways to Beat Tinnitus Naturally

Tinnitus is a perceived sensation of a ringing, roaring, buzzing, chirping, or humming sound without any actual acoustical stimulation.  It is estimated that over 15 million Americans experience this very disturbing condition on a regular basis.

Research has shown that the many cases of chronic tinnitus are part of a degenerative process characterized by chronic inflammation (1).  Lifestyle based solutions can reverse this inflammatory damage before it is too late.

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Types of Tinnitus:

  • Tonal Tinnitus – This type of Tinnitus generates a continuous sounds like “ringing in the ears”, a single note playing over and over.
  • Pulsatile Tinnitus – The Tinnitus sounds are intermittent, continuous, or pulsating in time with the heartbeat.
  • Whisling Tinnitus:  Tinnitus in which the sound is a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or a hissing noise.
  • Beeping Tinnitus:  Tinnitus, in which the sounds are described as beeping such as a Morse code type of signal, or even musical notes.
  • Multiple Noise Tinnitus:  Tinnitus that is described as hearing several different types of noises at the same time.

Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss.  This has led to the theory that one cause of tinnitus may be a compensatory homeostatic response of central dorsal cochlear nucleus auditory neurons that make them hyperactive to any form of auditory stimulus (2).

This means that the ears become more sensitive in order to compensate for the hearing loss.  This sensitivity picks up more faint sounds that create the tinnitus.

From a survival perspective, it would be more important to maintain sensitive hearing in order to be aware of danger quickly and live with tinnitus symptoms than to be insensitive to sounds and unable to respond to danger quickly.

The Most Common Causes of Tinnitus:

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different conditions including build-up of inner ear wax, ear infections, vestibular disorders, exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s disease, low thyroid function, hypertension, allergies and on very rare cases a tumor.   Over 250 medications list tinnitus as a common side effect of usage including aspirin and anti-biotics (3, 4).

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is due to inflammation and poor circulation within the inner ear. When the body is chronically inflamed certain inflammatory mediating prostaglandins are secreted in high amounts (5).

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage.  It can be a very good thing.  If you bang your elbow your body will produce inflammation to clean up debris and initiate the healing process.  However, when our body is in a state of chronic inflammation problems arise.  In fact, all degenerative disease such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, etc. are associated with inflammation at the cellular level (6).

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Must Control Inflammation:

These pro-inflammatory mediators cause an increase in vasoconstriction and platelet aggregation (7, 8).   This decreases blood flow into the smaller capillaries of the body such as the inner ear.  This inflammatory process also increases the lymphatic fluid in the inner ear.  This combination increases pressure in the inner ear which stimulates the auditory nerve enough to create a series of action potentials that the brain interprets as sound.

The presence of inflammatory based tinnitus may be a warning sign that the entire body is inflamed and disease processes are forming rapidly.  Most inflammatory conditions can be reversed through diet and lifestyle modifications and the use of beneficial supplementation.

Upper Cervical Spine and Tinnitus:

A 2000 study showed that tinnitus is very often caused by instability of the craniocervical junction (9).  This could be related to subluxation and joint deformation or a more significant issue such as a prolapsed intervertebral disc or metastases as low as C3.  Issues with the tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) of the jaw can also play a role in tinnitus.

Chiropractic care specific to the upper cervical spine and TMJ can reduce stress on the region and improve function.  Several studies have shown that chiropractic care addressing the upper cervical spine and TMJ can improve auditory function and have a beneficial effect on tinnitus(10, 11, 12).

An Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:

Begin eating an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of phytonutrient dense fruits & vegetables, healthy fat sources, and grass-fed/free-range animal products.  Keep sugar & grains to a minimum.  Use coconut, olive oil, grass-fed meat, free range eggs, avocados, nuts/seeds, and non-starchy vegetables as primary fuels throughout the day.

Load up on anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, dandelion, oregano, garlic, & green tea.  The primary fruits that should be used are low-sugar, anti-oxidant rich sources such as berries, lemons/ limes, & grapefruits.

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High Quality Essential Fats:

Several supplements have been shown to be highly beneficial for reducing inflammation and enhancing circulation throughout the body and in particular the inner ear.   High quality sources of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA are critical for this process.

Omega 3’s are particularly key for influencing the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandin formation (13).   By providing the appropriate balance, these fats help to reduce inflammation and vasoconstriction that are part of the pathogenesis of tinnitus.

Additionally, liposomal curcumin and glutathione are powerful at downregulating inflammatory pathways.  Our Pro Omega CRP product is the best thing I have found for reducing inflammation and improving conditions such as tinnitus.   I really like Nordic Naturals brand due to its commitment to purity through molecular distillation and 3rd party testing.

Vitamin B12 and Tinnitus:

Vitamin B12 is a critical player in the formation of the myelin sheaths that surround and insulate nerve fibers.   A vitamin B12 deficiency makes nerves more susceptible to the inflammatory damage that causes tinnitus (14).

Healthy meat sources are a great way to get Vitamin B12.  Use digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with your meat products to enhance protein and B12 absorption.  You can also use specific supplementation to get your B12 levels up.  If you are low in B12, I recommend a sublingual dissolvable form of methyl-B12 in order to get right into the blood stream, so it can go to work without any disruption from the digestive system.

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Boost up Anti-Oxidants:

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an enormous role in many disease processes because they damage various structural and functional cellular components.  Studies have indicated that individuals who suffer with tinnitus have elevated serum values for reactive oxygen species (15, 16).

A 2007 study demonstrated that oral antioxidant therapy in patients with idiopathic tinnitus seems to reduce the subjective discomfort and tinnitus intensity (17).  Other studies have shown that elevated levels of magnesium, vitamins A, C and E were effective at reducing trauma to the inner ear structures (18).

8 Steps To Beat Tinnitus:

1)  Good Sleep:  It is absolutely critical to sleep well in order to reduce inflammation and heal.  Inadequate sleep will result in elevated stress hormone production and increased inflammation.  Follow these strategies to improve your sleep quality.

2)  Anti-Inflammatory Diet:  Focus on good fats, anti-oxidants and clean proteins.  Good fats such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, olives and olive oil and fish oil provide the key fatty acids needed to for optimal neurological function.   Here is a helpful group of shopping lists to help you follow the right diet.

3)  Intermittent Fasting:  Going 16 hours between dinner and breakfast is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and improve tissue healing.  Consume your meals in an 8 hour window such as 11am – 7pm.  Read this article for more info on fasting.

4)  Optimize Your Vitamin D:  Low vitamin D3 is associated with chronic inflammation (19).  Be sure to increase your vitamin D through good amounts of regular sun exposure and/or taking a high quality vitamin D3/K2 supplement.

5)  Zinc and Magnesium:  Be sure to optimize your zinc and magnesium levels.  Both of these nutrients are key for reducing inflammation and improving the symptoms of tinnitus.  Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of both zinc and magnesium. Additionally, make green drinks or use super green powders and consume healthy organic meat products.

I recommend using zinc glycinate (40mg – 1x daily) and magnesium threonate, which has been shown to cross the blood brain barrier and positively effect the neurological tissue.

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6)  Chiropractic Care:  Chiropractic care works with the upper cervical spine and the connection processes between the brain and the body.  The key areas that correlate with tinnitus include the upper cervical region, TMJ and the forward head posture.   Find a chiropractor that specializes in taking care of the upper cervical spine, TMJ and reducing forward head posture.  I recommend Maximized Living doctors here

7)  B Vitamins:  Be sure to optimize your B Vitamins.  You can get an indepth test to see where your B vitamins are as well as your neurotransmitters and gut microbiome with the organic acid test here.

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8)  Use Lemon & Lime:  Citrus bioflavinoids found in lemon and lime as well as other citrus fruits help to improve capillary permeability.  They do this by protecting the endothelial tissue from oxidative stress.  They not only help to improve blood flow into the inner ear but they also help to protect the internal membranes of the ear from oxidative stress.

Drink lemon water in the morning each day, put a lemon/lime in a fresh made green juice and squeeze lemon/lime on meat and vegetable dishes.

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Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Han BI, Lee HW, Kim TY, Lim JS, Shin KS. Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments. Journal of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea). 2009;5(1):11-19.
  2. Schaette R, Kempter R. Development of tinnitus-related neuronal hyperactivity through homeostatic plasticity after hearing loss: a computational model. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Jun;23(11):3124-38. PMID: 16820003
  3. Han BI, Lee HW, Kim TY, Lim JS, Shin KS. Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments. Journal of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea). 2009;5(1):11-19.
  4. Vestibular Disorders Association: Tinnitus: Ringing in the Ears Link Here
  5. Ricciotti E, FitzGerald GA. Prostaglandins and Inflammation. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2011;31(5):986-1000.
  6. Edwards T. Inflammation, pain, and chronic disease: an integrative approach to treatment and prevention. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):20-7; quiz 28, 75. PMID: 16320856
  7. Smith JB. Prostaglandins and platelet aggregation. Acta Med Scand Suppl. 1981;651:91-9. PMID: 7034481
  8. Rajtar G, Cerletti C, Castagnoli MN, Bertelé V, de Gaetano G. Prostaglandins and human platelet aggregation. Implications for the anti-aggregating activity of thromboxane-synthase inhibitors. Biochem Pharmacol. 1985 Feb 1;34(3):307-10. PMID: 3918536
  9. Montazem A. Secondary tinnitus as a symptom of instability of the upper cervical spine: operative management. Int Tinnitus J. 2000;6(2):130-3. PMID: 14689631
  10. Emary PC. Chiropractic management of a 40-year-old female patient with Ménière disease. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2010;9(1):22-27.
  11. Björne A. Assessment of temporomandibular and cervical spine disorders in tinnitus patients. Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:215-9. PMID: 17956785
  12. Cherian K, Cherian N, Cook C, Kaltenbach JA. Improving tinnitus with mechanical treatment of the cervical spine and jaw. J Am Acad Audiol. 2013 Jul-Aug;24(7):544-55. PMID: 24047942
  13. Bagga D, Wang L, Farias-Eisner R, Glaspy JA, Reddy ST. Differential effects of prostaglandin derived from omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on COX-2 expression and IL-6 secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):1751-6. PMID: 12578976
  14. Shemesh Z, Attias J, Ornan M, Shapira N, Shahar A. Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic-tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. Am J Otolaryngol. 1993 Mar-Apr;14(2):94-9. PMID: 8484483
  15. Neri S, Signorelli S, Pulvirenti D, Mauceri B, Cilio D, Bordonaro F, Abate G, Interlandi D, Misseri M, Ignaccolo L, Savastano M, Azzolina R, Grillo C, Messina A, Serra A, Tsami A. Oxidative stress, nitric oxide, endothelial dysfunction and tinnitus. Free Radic Res. 2006 Jun;40(6):615-8. PMID: 16753839
  16. Neri S, Mauceri B, Cilio D, Bordonaro F, Messina A, Malaguarnera M, Savastano M, Brescia G, Manci S, Celadini M. Tinnitus and oxidative stress in a selected series of elderly patients. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2002;8:219-23. PMID: 14764394
  17. Savastano M, Brescia G, Marioni G. Antioxidant therapy in idiopathic tinnitus: preliminary outcomes. Arch Med Res. 2007 May;38(4):456-9. PMID: 17416295
  18. Le Prell CG, Hughes LF, Miller JM. Free radical scavengers, vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium reduces noise trauma. Free radical biology & medicine. 2007;42(9):1454-1463.
  19. Mangin M, Sinha R, Fincher K. Inflammation and vitamin D: the infection connection. Inflamm Res. 2014 Oct;63(10):803-19. PMID: 25048990

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