Craig Baron F_Headspace_img

Craig Baron - Figuring out A “F”-ed Headspace.

Frustration, fixation. fatigue, forgetful and fear, so often one or more of these emotions can dominate a person’s headspace. Whilst having a “f”-ed headspace can be a major obstacle in a person quality of life these subjective feelings and emotions can play a vital clue in the piecing together the puzzle of a patient’s health picture. Join Craig Baron, for a practical and insightful session in navigating and identifying the mood-influencing factors of the neuro-immune-endocrine system in your patients. Utilise conceptualised patient-focused headspace and mood profiles, including real-life case studies and results-driven nutritional and herbal treatment strategies.


Renee Kucyk - Depression & Inflammation.

It is now well-established that depression is associated with increased inflammation. Turmeric and saffron are anti-inflammatory herbs with demonstrated efficacy in depression. This presentation provides details of emerging treatment strategies for depression. New models in managing depression go beyond mere modulation of neurotransmitter pathways and look to address other drivers including inflammation. BCM-95™ Turmeric and saffron provide effective treatment options in the management of depression.


David Casteleijn - Providing herbal medicine treatment for anxiety and depression in a contemporary health system.

Anxiety and depression deliver a significant health burden to both the individual and the community. Herbal medicine provides significant health care benefits but is rarely investigated as a practice. There is some good evidence for the individual herbs (some of which is investigated in this presentation) and some set formulas, but where does the practitioner fit in? How does a practitioner maintain their holistic approach in the world of evidence-based medicine?

Understanding the range of evidence which naturopaths draw upon and investigating how naturopaths interact with the evidence more broadly, a more complete picture of evidence-based practice emerges. Further, using a pragmatic approach the practitioner can be made a central figure in the research process. Observing practice over a number of consultations we can observe the outcomes for a client with anxiety and/or depression consulting a naturopath for a bespoke herbal medicine formula treating the whole person.

The process and various complexities of this pragmatic approach is explained. Finally, the data collected to date is collated and examined with regards to prescribing trends which have become evident and in a number of cases demonstrates naturopaths are paying attention to the research and integrating it into their practice.


Prof Zoltan Sarnyai - Effects of stress and trauma on the brain: the hormonal link.

Our modern existence surrounds us with stress of many kind throughout our whole life. It has been widely acknowledged that stress has a strong impact on our physiology and it contributes in the development of a multitude of medical conditions well beyond the confines of psychosomatic disorders. Stress and trauma also influence brain function. Our brain chemistry is altered by stressful and traumatic events from even before birth, leading to long-term structural changes which may underlie the development of mental illness. This talk will focus on how our body generates an integrated response to acute stress and how normal adaptation fails if stress becomes chronic and relentless.

Special emphasis will be given to the activation of the autonomic nervous system, including the vagus nerve, and to major hormonal mediators that exert both acute and long-term effects on the brain.

A rigorous, scientifically based framework of stress neurobiology will be presented to aid practitioners in conceptualising different treatment and management options for better, evidence-based efficacy.


Dr David Codyre - Taking an Integrative Clinical Approach to Common Mental Health Conditions in a Primary Care Setting.

Given that naturopaths and other CAM practitioners are in essence an “alternate” primary healthcare sector, data re how mental health and addiction (MH&A) need presents in mainstream primary care can be extrapolated to this sector. 1 in 3 people seen in GP clinics have an underlying MH&A condition, but only 1 in 20 present with a MH symptom – the rest presenting with physical symptoms. In the case of “medically unexplained symptom” syndromes such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, IBS, fibromyalgia, overlap with common MH conditions is even more common.

This presentation will outline a practical clinically focussed approach to how to recognise when MH&A issues underlie physical symptoms; and to assessment integrating understanding of common genetic polymorphisms, recognising related phenotypes and the role of early life adversity, and of current life stress, in triggering onset of symptoms. The mechanisms by which this comes together in precipitating inflammatory process will be outlined, including the complex role of gut-brain interactions, and of gut bacteria in influencing gene expression.

Finally, a practical overview of approaches to holistic management of common mental health conditions informed by this formulation process will be presented, including the role of self-management and lifestyle change, nutraceuticals, talking therapies, and the role of medications from the perspective of “Psychiatric Medication – Friend or Foe?”


Hope Foley - A potential role for herbal medicine in supporting recovery from methamphetamine abuse.

Over the last two decades there has been growing concern surrounding the prevalence of methamphetamine abuse around the world, including in Australia and New Zealand. Chronic use of such substances can leave users with long-term adverse health effects, particularly in regards to neurocognitive function and mental health. While use of illicit amphetamines overall appears to have begun decreasing, these long-term neurocognitive and mental health effects are likely to persist for many abstinent users, calling for attention in clinical settings.

Herbal medicine may be particularly well-placed to address the needs of individuals with a history of methamphetamine use; herbs such as Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, Scutellaria baicalensis, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Withania somnifera demonstrate neuroprotective, antioxidant, adaptogenic and other actions specific to amelioration of the harmful neurocognitive and adrenal effects associated with methamphetamine abuse. In particular, these herbs show potential to address the dopaminergic deficits, neuronal oxidative damage, and disruption of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis rhythms caused by chronic methamphetamine abuse.

This presentation explores how such herbs, together with an holistic treatment approach, hold the potential to fill a vital role in supporting long-term recovery after methamphetamine abuse. Additionally, the author highlights a need for further clinical research in this area.


Liz Lalor - Understanding sensitivity & susceptibility of your patients and yourself to PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

We need to find 'why and how' our patients cannot face everyday reality after trauma and exactly 'why and how' they have created a story around their trauma to protect even their own memory from ever knowing it was there. Identifying a patient needs adrenal support is only the beginning. If we address the adrenal fatigue without having an inkling of the trauma that created the exhaustion then what happens to our patient when we reduce the cortisol which has been protecting them from remembering or avoiding their trauma. Furthermore, are we as health practitioners able to cope when our patients open the flood gates?


Dr Pooja Maddela - Therapeutic applications of yoga for brain health and mental wellbeing.

The ancient art of yoga is gaining popularity as an accessible, acceptable and cost-effective practice for mind and body. Yoga practices have long been utilised for improving mental health. Emerging research, particularly over the past decade, reveals how yoga practices like postures, breathing techniques and meditation can positively impact health and wellbeing.

In this talk Dr Pooja Maddela will introduce the key concepts and therapeutic applications of yoga for brain health and mental wellbeing.


Prof Yoram Barak - What do Older Adults know about Brain Health?

Aims: There is a general perception that no effective preventive modalities exist against mental disorders. However, recent recommendations from the USA and UK governmental and academic agencies suggest that up to 35% of dementia cases are preventable. As a pilot study contributing to the design of a probability survey, we canvassed degree of dementia awareness among local older adults.

Methods: The modified Lifestyle for Brain Health (LIBRA) scale quantifying dementia risk and protective factors was introduced to a sample of 401 participants.

Results: Two hundred and sixteen older adults (>50 years), mean age 65.5 + 11.4 years (range: 50-93) completed the present survey. This is a 71% response rate amongst the older adults. There were 172 women and 44 men, all but 8 were NZ Europeans. Social isolation was the most commonly cited risk for dementia while physical exercise was most commonly cited as a protective factor. More than 75% of participants correctly identified 5/14 modifiable risk factors for dementia recently identified and compiled in a systematic review. The majority of participants felt they were at risk of suffering from dementia, that this will change their lives significantly, that lifestyle changes will help reduce their risk, that they can make the necessary changes and wish to start these changes soon.

Conclusions: Older adults are not adequately knowledgeable about dementia risk and protective factors. However, they are reporting optimism in their ability to modify risks through lifestyle interventions.


Jill Dunn - Mapping the naturopathic landscape: Global examination of regulatory, education and policy frameworks and infrastructure.

Well developed professions have identified, codified and applied frameworks and infrastructures. The emerging profession of naturopathy has not had similar examination despite calls by World Health Organisation (WHO) for further examination.

This presentation reports on the World Naturopathic Federation global cross-sectional survey of naturopathic regulators, professional associations and educational institutions, to examine the relationship between naturopathic education, frameworks and regulation and vice-versa. Organisations were included in the study if they identified as primarily regulating, representing or training naturopathic practitioners who have met WHO minimum training standards. Perceived national barriers and facilitators of development of naturopathic medicine were identified.


Vanessa Hitch - The link between adrenal function, pH and brain health.

We are living in a very stressful modern world, with practitioners now seeing unprecedented levels of adrenal dysfunction and mood disorders. Patients who are exhausted, anxious, suffering from brain fog and cognitive lapses. Exposure to repeated or chronic stress, called the allostatic load, has a critical and damaging effect on the nervous system and brain. In this presentation, you will understand the causes of adrenal dysfunction, with a focus on acid-base balance being critical for both adrenals and brain health.

With an integrative multi-system approach, using evidence-based natural therapies, you will learn how to quickly and effectively lift the allostatic burden, including imbalanced pH levels, and provide your patients with long-term solutions and resilience to mental and physical stressors.


Sam McSorley - Psychobiotics.

> Psychobiotics are probiotics which have proven beneficial effect on psychological well-being and mental health. Emerging evidence indicates that these beneficial bacteria exert their effects via the enteric nervous system, causing emotional, cognitive, systemic and neural improvements in patients. Psychobiotics also work by strengthening gut barrier integrity, influencing the stress response system, inhibiting mast cell activation, decreasing inflammation, and reducing the systemic lipopolysaccharide burden.

The latest science on psychobiotics will be reviewed to look at how they can be used to help improve the function and integrity of the gut and blood brain barriers. The research will highlight significance importance on treating compromised digestive function, mood disorders, migraines, autism spectrum disorders, learning difficulties, and/or cognitive dysfunction.


Phil Rasmussen - Herbal medicines and their interactions with Psychiatric Drugs.

Use of drug medication by patients with conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychotic conditions, as well as substance dependency, is common. However, Herbal medicine offers some highly effective and often useful treatments also, for conditions and states affecting the mind.

In this lecture Phil will present the evidence for both potentially harmful as well as potentially useful such combinations, and discuss some case studies, to help improve our understanding of how to proceed when we are faced with patients taking drug medications, for nervous system or psychiatric conditions.