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Ask Dr.Gruenn

How can I beat the Common Cold?

The common cold primarily affects the upper respiratory system. It can be caused by a variety of 200 different viruses, which are highly contagious and are spread through sneezing, coughing or touching. Symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle aches. In most cases symptoms resolve spontaneously within 7 to 10 days, with some symptoms lasting up to three weeks.

Many patients have the erroneous idea that a cold that last longer than 3 or 4 days warrants antibiotics. However, antibiotics do not address the cold virus, as viruses hide and reproduce inside cells. Prescribing antibiotics for the common cold is therefore not effective. Taking antibiotics when they are not warranted attributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
A bacterial super-infection is a rare complication that can develop after an upper respiratory tract infection. In this case higher fever and increasing malaise might point to the presence of a bacterial pneumonia, sinusitis or otitis media.

Treating viral symptoms early (within the first hours to maximum the first 2 days) has a chance of blocking the virus before it attaches and invades the cells of the respiratory tract and can therefore halt the infection. (The prescription drug Tamiflu works that way.)

There is growing evidence that higher levels of Vitamin D reduce the risk of catching the common cold and shorten its duration.

Here are some immune boosting remedies:

  • Vitamin C supplementation reduces the duration of the common cold. Intravenous vitamin C has strong antiviral properties while at the same time stimulating the immune system
  • Oregano (also clove and thyme) oil has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Beta Glucans work as "biological response modifiers" because of their ability to activate various parts of the immune system
  • Elderberry extracts have been found to fight off viruses.
  • Garlic has antiviral and antimicrobial properties and might also help to prevent colds.
  • Research confirms the value of zinc. However, do not take zinc-based nasal sprays, as they can impair your sense of smell, possibly for good.


The common cold primarily affects the upper respiratory system...

Are there new strategies for chronic pain?

Treating chronic pain is complex and needs an individualized diagnostic and therapeutic approach. There is a new modality, called Ondamed, that can be used for acute or chronic pain (back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain…), headache/migraine and fibromyalgia.


ONDAMED is a therapeutic modality that combines Pulsing Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy and biofeedback. Research has shown that both PEMF and biofeedback are safe and effective for pain management and a wide range of conditions. Pulsed electromagnetic fields applied to the outside of the body induce microcurrents within the tissues thereby promoting relaxation, muscle re-education, pain relief, stress relief, reduction of inflammation and possibly improvement of the immune system.


PEMF was originally developed and tested for the treatment of non healing bone fractures, a rather debilitating condition. The method has been accepted by many in the orthopedic community and is widely used. Success with bone healing led to testing PEMFs on other tissues, and it was found that PEMF signals stimulate healing in skin, ligament, tendon, muscle, and nerve.


ONDAMED has been used successfully in Europe since 1993 and is now being used by physicians throughout the US. ONDAMED not infrequently improves symptoms for which patients have tried various treatments and have run out of options.


Treating chronic pain is complex and needs an individualized diagnostic and therapeutic approach...


Am I at risk for Alzheimer’s? And why would I want to know?

Many seniors who begin to have memory lapses worry unnecessarily about Alzheimer’s. Regular cognitive testing helps to alleviate those worries. A poor test result is not necessarily reflect neurological damage, but can be due to emotional stress of depression.

While we do not have effective therapies to treat fully developed Alzheimer’s disease, there are strong indications that the early detection of cognitive decline allows the implementation of medical and lifestyle changes that delay and possibly prevent the onset of the disease down the line. As subtle forms of cognitive decline can be detected up to 20 years before the development of Alzheimer’s, it is therefore important to test as early as possible, which should be done in the 50s and 60s.

Neurocognitive testing is a simple test that measures Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by evaluating memory, fluency and mental executive functions. It can detect if memory problems are just a part of normal aging, or if they are more serious. The test is done in our office. It is computer based and takes about thirty minutes. It is covered by Medicare and reimbursed by many insurance companies.
What can be done to prevent Alzheimer’s?

  • Controlling inflammation. Many studies have suggested that inflammation may contribute to dementia. C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, is associated with an Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Controlling insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Controlling weight
  • Lowering homocysteine
  • Regular exercise stimulates the production of neuronal growth factors that help neurons survive and adapt to new situations.
  • Training the brain through intellectually stimulating activities and social interactions increases a person's "cognitive reserve."
  • Avoidance and detoxification of mercury
  • A diet rich in greens and blueberries.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Research indicates that long-term use of aspirin and NSAIDs may prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
  • Supplementation with vitamin D, fish or krill oil, anti-oxidantsAlpha Lipoic Acid,  Coconut Oil and Curcumin.

Many seniors who begin to have memory lapses worry unnecessarily about Alzheimer’s. Regular cognitive testing helps to alleviate those worries...