Compassion meditation reduces ‘mind-wandering,’ research shows

April 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

Research at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education shows that formal compassion training increases both mental focus and caring behavior. The practice of compassion meditation may be a powerful antidote to a drifting mind, new Stanford research shows. Compassion meditation focuses on benevolent thoughts toward oneself and others, as the researchers noted. It is different in this aspect than most forms of meditation in the sense that participants are “guided” toward compassionate thoughts. The research article, “A Wandering Mind is a Less Caring Mind,” was recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. “This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself,” said James Doty, a co-author on the study, Stanford neurosurgeon and the founder and director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. “Mind-wandering” is the experience of having your thoughts not remain on a single topic for long. Prior research suggests that people spend as much as 50 percent of their waking hours in mind-wandering, often without realizing it. Doty said that mindfulness is extremely useful in today’s world with its myriad of

Our Own Health or Our Ecosystem? – J. Morris Hicks

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

My guess is that most people would answer that “our own health” is most important. Not because they’re selfish or uncaring about the environment, but because they probably don’t know what’s at stake should our ecosystem no longer be able to sustain us. And they don’t know the most powerful action we can take to promote ecological health. My answer to the title question is that NOTHING is more important than the sustainability of our ecosystem. That’s because without a healthy ecosystem, our civilization will collapse, making life a hell on Earth for those few of us who survive. And, when that happens, what good is being healthyif we don’t have enough food, water, shelter and clean air? As for environmental health, most people think it’s a matter of recycling, taking shorter showers, driving electric cars, installing solar panels, etc. All good things to be sure, but only a drop in the bucket when it comes to preserving our ecosystem’s ability to sustain us. Read

Drug Industry Attacks Bioidentical Hormones Again – Jeffrey Dach

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Just when things have calmed down, the drug industry opens a new salvo in its war against bioidentical hormones, perceived as stealing market share from their women’s hormone pill, Prempro, currently in litigation for causing cancer and heart disease. The attack article appeared in the Huffington Post by Phyllis Greenberger, CEO of Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), an industry-sponsored mouthpiece that funnels money from the drug industry to doctors for research grants, speaking engagements, meetings and even gala celebrations. Hot Flash and Cold Cash by Alicia Mundy A 2003 expose by Alicia Mundy in the Washington Monthly discloses SWHR-industry ties to Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Wyeth,companies sitting on the SWHR advisory board. Serving Your Corporate Master Apparently, having the drug industry as one’s corporate master requires regurgitation of old marketing propaganda, even if it doesn’t make sense. Even to the most casual observer, this Huffington Post piece is a blatant attempt to discredit bioidentical hormones using fallacies, innuendo, and misinformation. Much of this material was covered in my free book, Bioidentical Hormones 101. Let’s Take A Look At the Huff Post Article The author, Phyllis Greenberger M.S.W., states, “Bioidentical hormones are not FDA approved.” Read

Ethics Professor Says It’s “Quite Reasonable” to Kill Disabled Babies via Obamacare – Daisy Luther

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Has anyone else noticed that most professors of ethics aren’t exactly…ummm…ethical? At least the ones who get quoted, anyway. A professor at the highly esteemed Princeton University doesn’t want his Obamacare premiums to increase because of caring for severely disabled babies. Dr. Pete Singer, who teaches ethics (but perhaps needs a little refresher on what the word “ethics” means) argued during a radio interview on Sunday that America should be more accepting of “intentionally ending the lives of severely disabled infants.” First, a definition: Read

Link between serotonin and depression is a myth, says top psychiatrist – Ralph Turchiano

April 22, 2015 // 0 Comments

The widely held belief that depression is due to low levels of serotonin in the brain – and that effective treatments raise these levels – is a myth, argues a leading psychiatrist in The BMJ this week. David Healy, Professor of Psychiatry at the Hergest psychiatric unit in North Wales, points to a misconception that lowered serotonin levels in depression are an established fact, which he describes as “the marketing of a myth.” The serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) group of drugs came on stream in the late 1980s, nearly two decades after first being mooted, writes Healy. The delay centred on finding an indication. After concerns emerged about tranquilliser dependence in the early 1980s, drug companies marketed SSRIs for depression, “even though they were weaker than older tricyclic antidepressants, and sold the idea that depression was the deeper illness behind the superficial manifestations of anxiety,” he explains. The approach was an astonishing success, “central to which was the notion that SSRIs restored serotonin levels to normal, a notion that later transmuted into the idea that they remedied a chemical imbalance.” In the 1990s, no one knew if SSRIs raised or lowered serotonin levels, he writes; they still don’t know. There was no

One-Third of Seniors with Dementia Are Being Given Antipsychotics

April 22, 2015 // 0 Comments

—even though such toxic drugs are not approved to treat dementia! A report [1] from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that nearly one-third of older adults with dementia who spent more than 100 days in a nursing home were given antipsychotics through Medicare’s prescription drug program in 2012. We previously reported that a similar situation exists with brain-damaged veterans [2]—and even with infants and young children [3], especially those treated through Medicaid. They are all given these very toxic and inappropriate medications. Why is this happening? Are Big Pharma profits more important than the health of our most vulnerable populations—seniors and young people? A bipartisan pair of senators are now calling for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate the potential misuse and overuse of these drugs.According to the letter [4] from Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME), nearly 30% of seniors in nursing homes and nearly 14% living outside of nursing home care are being given antipsychotics to treat the behavioral symptoms of dementia—despite “specific warnings that they not be given to patients with dementia due to an increased risk of falls or death”! The FDA has never approved such drugs to be used for behavioral problems from dementia, nor for use

Roundup is endocrine disruptor in human cells at levels allowed in drinking water

April 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

Findings of new study need confirmation in animal tests Roundup is an endocrine disruptor and is toxic to human cells in vitro (tested in culture dishes in the laboratory) at levels permitted in drinking water in Australia, a new study has found. This is the first study to examine the effects of glyphosate and Roundup on progesterone production by human female cells in an in vitro system that models key aspects of reproduction in women. Glyphosate alone was less toxic to human cells than glyphosate in a Roundup formulation; both glyphosate and Roundup caused cell death which resulted in decreased progesterone levels – a form of hormone/endocrine disruption. Endocrine disruption did not precede the toxicity to cells but occurred after it. The decreases in progesterone concentrations were caused by reduced numbers of viable cells. A 24h exposure to a concentration of glyphosate (in Roundup) similar to that recommended as an acceptable level for Australian drinking water caused significant toxicity to the cells in vitro, which supports a call for long-term in vivo (in live animals) studies to characterise the toxicity of Roundup. The possibility that Roundup has endocrine disrupting activity independent of its ability to kill or disable cells needs

Bacterial flora of remote tribespeople carries antibiotic resistance genes

April 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

Scientists have found antibiotic resistance genes in the bacterial flora of a South American tribe that never before had been exposed to antibiotic drugs. The findings suggest that bacteria in the human body have had the ability to resist antibiotics since long before such drugs were ever used to treat disease. The research stems from the 2009 discovery of a tribe of Yanomami Amerindians in a remote mountainous area in southern Venezuela. Largely because the tribe had been isolated from other societies for more than 11,000 years, its members were found to have among the most diverse collections of bacteria recorded in humans. Within that plethora of bacteria, though, the researchers have identified genes wired to resist antibiotics. The study, published April 17 in Science Advances, reports that the microbial populations on the skin and in the mouths and intestines of the Yanomami tribespeople were much more diverse than those found in people from the United States and Europe. The multicenter research was conducted by scientists at New York University School of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research and other institutions. “This was an ideal opportunity to study how the connections between

Big City Living May Help You Slow Down, Stress Less, and Be Happy‏. Really! – Zanna McKay

April 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

The industrial city of Wenzhou, China, (population 2 million) is currently known for its rapid development as an economic hub, but some residents hope it may someday be known as a “slow city.” Recently, a delegation of Wenzhou citizens visited the Tuscany headquarters of Cittaslow, an organization credited with starting the slow cities movement. The delegation was concerned about the side effects of a hyper, fast-paced life and wanted to learn more about how living slow might preserve cultural heritage in China. The delegation visited local markets and artisans’ studios, including a shop where the Italian art of handmade shoes is still practiced. The artisans they met emphasized the role Cittaslow has played in preserving the value of crafts, like shoemaking, that are only possible with a great deal of time invested and a strong local economy. The United Nations projects that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. And indeed, the industrial and economic hubs of the world may be the last places that evoke ideas about living slow. But with inevitable population growth in urban areas on the horizon, many city governments are trying to make their communities more enjoyable to live in

Helping Veterans with PTSD Using Yoga – Constance Scharff Ph.D.

April 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

We have come a long way in our efforts to treat PTSD and other psychological disorders. Some of the best information has come from veterans themselves. For example, after suffering from the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, Army veteran John Thurman used his experience with yoga to help others, in a program that packs rooms. There are many complementary therapies that have shown great results in treating PTSD and other issues. With the number of veterans in need of these resources, it is important for healthcare professionals to put these resources to greater use. The Washington Post reports: Of the 2.3 million American veterans who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 20 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which often includes anxiety,depression, and hypervigilance, which means they feel always on guard. Read
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