Tips That May Help You Put Rheumatoid Arthritis Into Remission

In our modern day world, when something goes awry with our health, we often seek the advice of a medical professional to help understand what is going on and how we can treat it. While becoming aware of our ailments is important, the way in which we treat them is just as much so. Health begins with prevention. Remaining aware of what is known to deplete our wellbeing is pertinent. And if you are faced with an unfortunate diagnosis, it’s necessary to understand it to the best of your ability, and acknowledge the factors that could have caused it, otherwise you may find yourself in the same situation again later on down the road. You must also know your healing options. There are many medicinal paths out there, and sometimes the one you are presented with is not necessarily the right one.

Here, rheumatoid arthritis is discussed, and you might be surprised at the healing options available to you.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

Rheumatoid arthritis is defined as a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joints, frequently accompanied by marked deformities, and ordinarily associated with manifestations of a general, or systemic, affliction.[1]

This disorder, which often affects the small joints in the hands and feet, is the result of the immune system accidentally attacking the body’s own tissues, damaging the lining of the joints, and causing swelling that can become so severe that it can lead to bone erosion and deformed joints. Other parts of the body that can be affected are the skin, eyes, lungs, and blood vessels.

The Signs and Symptoms

RA can be difficult to diagnose, but knowing the factors involved is crucial. Some of the early signs include: fatigue, dry mouth, loss of appetite, irritated eyes that can even experience discharge, chest pain upon breathing, and hardened tissue in the form of small bumps under the skin on your arms.

You may then experience inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the fingers, wrists, knees, feet, ankles, or shoulders. Numbness, tingling, and burning are also common as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome, often associated with RA. You might also experience a fever accompanied by other RA symptoms.

The disorder, which can be terminal, can have pain so crippling that half of people who develop it will no longer be able to work within 10 years. Furthermore, within five years, 50 to 70 percent of RA’s victims will experience some form of disability. With such a small number (less than one percent) of people experiencing spontaneous remission, it can feel very defeating to live with.

Traditional Treatments

Many of the doctor-prescribed medications do little to reverse RA, but rather alleviate the symptoms associated with the disorder. To do so, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and highly toxic drugs are often utilized. Steroids like prednisone can have many side effects, including an increased risk of infection, weight gain, worsening diabetes, cataracts in the eyes, and the thinning of bones.

Furthermore, there is also the concern of  people with RA experiencing relapses while on these toxic medications. “That can happen within months or even many years after a patient has been started on a drug,” explains Dr. Hardin, a professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, New York. Dr. Hardin notes that this phenomenon is the result of people simply becoming resistant to medications.

“When I was diagnosed with RA, my rheumatologist started me on immuno-suppressants, steroids and methotrexate (a drug commonly used in chemotherapy),” says Rachna Chhachhi, a certified nutritional therapist. “After a while of feeling good, I noticed that my hair had started falling. I tried everything possible to get back my lost hair, but to no avail. Nothing worked. When I asked my immunologist, he told me it was a side effect of the drugs I was taking. I had to choose between balding and being able to walk.” Chhachhi chose alternative methods, changing her lifestyle choices first and foremost.

Lifestyle Changes and Natural Pain Relievers

As with any health concern, it’s much easier to assume this is the unfortunate hand you are dealt with and give in to medications as a means for getting through the day. But a crucial step many people miss when it comes to diagnoses is understanding what might have caused them in the first place.

RA is an immune system disorder, so it makes sense that the buildup of nutritional deficiencies could weaken the body. Chhachhi chose to strengthen her immune system through nutrition and physical practices like yoga and pranayama. Here is a look at similar lifestyle changes that can be made:

Diet

Avoiding or limiting inflammatory foods can be extremely beneficial for reversing RA. These foods include whole-milk products, fatty cuts of meat, empty starches, added sugars, refined flours, and processed foods complete with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Anti-inflammatory foods include wild salmon, avocado, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich fruits. Essentially, you are eating for your joints.

A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that, over a 15-year- period, men and women who ate a healthful dose of nuts had more than a 50 percent lower risk of dying from inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis as opposed to those who ate little to no nuts.

Olive oil, which is loaded with oleocanthal, hinders inflammation in the body as well as reduces pain, much like the synthetic medications on the market. “This compound inhibits activity of COX enzymes, with a pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen,” explains José M. Ordovás, PhD, who is the Director of Nutrition and Genomics at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Another natural pain reliever is the curcumin found in turmeric, which is touted for its incredible anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Natural Products discovered that pure curcuminoid extracts are effective in preventing and treating experimental rheumatoid arthritis.

Weight

Excess weight isn’t good for people with rheumatoid arthritis because it adds extra stress and strain on weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Low-impact aerobic exercises are the way to go. “While, yoga keeps their joints supple and flexible, pranayama helps in the efficient release of toxins from the body, thereby reducing pain,” explains Chhachhi of her chosen and recommended method.

study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic discovered that obese individuals were 25 percent more at risk for being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis than people with normal body weights. The study’s lead researcher, Eric Matteson, says it’s more than just stress on the joints, however. “The link, we think, has to do with the activity of the fat cells themselves,” says Matteson.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D plays an important role in the strengthening of bones, joints and cartilage, so not getting enough can work to do the opposite — weakening your body and aiding in muscle and skeletal pain. A 2012 study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that a deficiency of this vitamin may be linked to the onset of serious diseases for people with RA. The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D. You can also get it through your diet by eating foods like salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk and yogurts. And to make sure you are absorbing it properly, it’s important to have healthy gut flora. Consuming fermented foods daily is a great place to start.

Get Inspired

If you’re suffering from RA and want to try an alternative method that can alleviate your symptoms and potentially put you in remission, check out how Dr. Mercola helped his patient, Sarah Allen, find her way back to health in this video:

Study Links The Birth Control Pill To Depression

 study from the University of Copenhagen has revealed a link between the female contraceptive pill and depression.

Though it may seem obvious that a medicine that tampers with hormone levels might affect mood, the research suggests these links are even stronger than some may have initially assumed. The most extensive study of its kind, involving one million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34, researchers tracked participants for a total of 13 years and concluded that those taking a combined contraceptive pill are 23% more likely to use antidepressants as opposed to those who do not.

The statistic increased to 34% for the progesterone-only pill, 60% for the vaginal ring, and an astonishing 100% for the patch.

Family planning organizations and the NHS have boosted their efforts to encourage teens to use long-lasting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), mostly because they eliminate the need for users to remember to take a pill every day, and are also thought to have less severe potential side effects than the pill. But the new research out of Denmark suggests such encouragements are altogether ill-advised.

Research has already found that the pill may worsen symptoms of pre-existing depression, so if teens were at greater risk of depression, continuing this contraceptive practice would be extremely remiss. The researchers even acknowledged the notion that, since GPs are less likely to prescribe the pill to those already suffering from depression, and since women who find themselves depressed once on the pill have a greater chance of opting out of it, this particular study likely underestimates the possible negative effects that hormonal contraceptives can have on mental health.

The initial response from women seemed to back up the study’s findings via a poll on NewStatesman. Many claimed the pill gave them anxiety, depression, or mood swings, while others claimed it made them feel angry, irrationally upset, or “weepy.”

There were also people, like myself, who actually felt more balanced on the pill, and even experienced depression after getting off of it. But the study, nevertheless, has profound implications for women and mental health. Mood changes are one of the biggest reasons many stop using the pill within the first year, and this study allows women’s concerns to finally be taken seriously, and not pushed off as some sort of emotional incompetence.

Naturally, the medical community tried to stifle the importance of these findings once the research came out, with experts claiming we shouldn’t be alarmed, concerned, or even tempted to stop using our hormonal contraceptives. Much of this advice comes from men who haven’t taken contraceptives themselves. For instance, Dr. Ali Kubba, a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, (RCOG) said:

Women should not be alarmed by this study as all women react differently to different methods of contraception. . . . There are a variety of contraceptive methods on offer, including the Pill, implants, injections, intrauterine devices, and vaginal rings and we therefore advise women to discuss their options with a doctor, where they will discuss the possible side-effects and decisions around the most suitable method can be made jointly.

Women are only fertile six days per menstrual cycle, while men are fertile every single day, yet we are educated to believe females must be the ones to subject their physical and mental well-being to hormonal treatment and potential health risks. Since getting off the pill, I have found myself much more in tune with my body. I had been on it for years, and relied entirely on an empty packet of pills to signal my impending period; I didn’t know anything about my own ovulation. And when I speak to other women who use the pill, it seems they don’t really, either. I’ve used the fertility awareness method for quite some time, and there are plenty of other effective alternatives to hormonal contraceptives, like the copper coil, diaphragm, condoms, and of course, vasectomy and the contraceptive injection for men called Vasalgel.

Instead, the response from medical professionals has proved disheartening, including one’s reminder on the new research that “an unwanted pregnancy far outweighs all the other side effects that could occur from a contraceptive.” So what’s the point of even considering the other side effects?

Women are also twice as likely to experience depression than men, due to “the fluctuation of progesterone and oestrogen levels.” Regardless of all the facts, however, it seems easier to blame women’s depression on their sex than it is to point the finger at a medication produced through synthetic hormones.www.goo

The Importance of Teaching Empathy To Children

At its simplest, empathy is the awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It goes beyond sympathy, which is often thought of as feeling for someone, and instead, is feeling with that person.

When we are empathetic toward someone else, we think before we speak or act, and instead, find a way to make them feel supported, loved, cared for, or even just simply understood. Practicing empathy can be as deep and as challenging as being there for someone during rough times, or as surface as making an effort to be kind to the people and things we come across in our own little worlds each and every day. This mindset entails the basic necessity of respect and the knowledge that we must treat others as we want to be treated ourselves.

The sooner we understand what empathy means, and the importance of it, the sooner we can live a more peaceful existence. Various studies even reinforce that the more empathy a child displays, the less likely they are to bully someone else. They are also more likely to share with and help others, and less likely to be antisocial or exhibit uncontrolled aggressive behaviours.  This is why educators are devoting more attention to empathy in recent years.

Yalda Modabber is one of those people. Now the principal and founder of Golestan Education, a Persian-language preschool and after-school program in Berkeley, California that collaborates with other local schools on cultural education, she admits that being bullied as a child motivated her to integrate empathy into every level at her school.

“It was nonstop for two years,” admits Modabber. “That period in my life was so hard that I blocked it out. I don’t even remember my teachers’ names. The entire class turned on me.”

Research suggests that people who are exposed to empathy earlier in life have a better chance of beholding longer-lasting emotional benefits than those exposed to it later, or not at all. In fact, one recent study discovered that children taught social and emotional skills in preschool and kindergarten have, in comparison to kids who don’t have empathy integrated into their curriculum, better social skills and fewer behaviour problems.

We’re Born With It

Infants as young as 8 to 14 months can show precursors to empathy via signs like concern for a parent if they’re hurt or upset. And the older we get, the more our empathetic behaviour becomes apparent. A study from the University of Munich in Germany discovered that children between the ages of five and seven increasingly anticipate feelings of concern for other people.

It Can Lead To Success

Empathy can also aid kids in becoming more successful as well. A recent study from Duke and Penn State discovered that kids who shared and helped others were more likely to graduate high school and have full-time jobs thereafter.

“It’s not just children,” explains Tina Malti, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. “It’s a life issue. I think a holistic view emphasizes living a more balanced life. If you only focus on academic outcomes, or work outcomes, you are going to miss the whole being of a person. It needs to be balanced in a healthful and meaningful way. And the word ‘meaningful’ always entails the whole being.”

There Are Many Ways To Build Empathy

There is no one size fits all when it comes to integrating empathy into an academic atmosphere. For instance, at Golestan Education, Yalda Modabber brings her dog, Nika, to work and allows her students to feed her, groom her, and give her water.

Research shows that people who have an attachment to a pet are actually more empathetic, with one recent study conducted by the American Humane Association showing how having an animal in the classroom increases students’ feelings of compassion and empathy towards one another.

“It’s not about bringing in a dog,” notes Malti. “It’s about teaching a student how to care for another. You can have a good teacher or a horrible teacher. If a student just watches a teacher taking care of the animal, and doesn’t participate, she doesn’t learn as well. But research shows if you have the child care for the animal, or even an infant, herself, it’s different. How you learn how to care for something is important.”

Malti also urges the importance of focusing on the individual.”Every single classroom is a microcosm,” Malti explains. “And each child in that classroom has varying capacities of mental needs. If you don’t look at the varying needs, you miss the opportunity to promote empathy in the best way possible.”

In addition to bringing her dog to school,  Modabber has the students do gardening. “They’re nurturing seeds to grow,” Modabber explains. “They’re giving it water and sunlight, they take care of it every day. Then they plant it. They don’t just pick them. They are really appreciating these plants. They see them. They’re present. They’re aware of these plants and how they’re growing.”

Every day before lunch, the students sing a song and chant to thank the earth for the food they’re about to eat—the food they’ve grown. Once they have finished, they sing a song to thank the chef who prepared it for them. This gratitude goes hand in hand with empathy according to research, which links higher empathy to less aggression.

Connecting with other cultures helps to improve empathy as well, according to Modabber, who says that every Friday, the children learn about a different country or culture, so they can better relate to people with context.

Video On Empathy

What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Study Finds That Nearly 30,000 Plant Species Are Used As Medicine Around World

For more than a decade and with increasing urgency, critics have called out the disproportionate influence the pharmaceutical industry has had on the practice of medicine, as well as biomedical research. Meanwhile, the power of natural medicine has increasingly entered the spotlight, and a new study brings more attention to the latter.

report released by the Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom has revealed that there are nearly 30,000 plant species recorded as being of medicinal use throughout the world. The report also noted that fewer than 16% of the species used in plant-based medicines are cited in medicinal regulatory publication.

This is surely a blow to the many pharmaceutical companies who stay not just afloat, but on top, by calling natural, plant-based herbal remedies useless in the world of medicine.

Plant medicines are widely and successfully used across the globe, however. In Germany, for instance, 90% of the population opts for herbal medicines over drug-based medicine. And, interestingly enough, the United States spent 17 billion dollars on herbal remedies in 2000 alone, despite its heavy reliance on pharmaceuticals, greater than any other country in the world.

Certainly of importance, as the new study notes, is that mixing pharmaceuticals with plant-based medicines can be dangerous, since many of the plants are made of compounds that become dangerous if taken incorrectly. Furthermore, there are many alternative names for each species.

To develop drugs, the majority rely on lead compounds that are directly extracted from medicinal plants anyway.

The report says:

Since 1981, 1,130 new therapeutic agents have been approved for use as pharmaceutical drugs, of which 593 are based on compounds from natural sources. Thirty-eight are derived from medicinal plants [40,41] . Fifteen of the 56 natural drugs registered for the treatment of cancer since 1980 are derived from medicinal plants with a long history of traditional use. For example drugs based on Paclitaxel have been isolated from the yew tree (Taxus spp.), Camptothecin from the happy tree, (Camptotheca acuminata) and Podophyllotoxin from the May apple (Podophyllum hexandrum and P. peltatum)

So, is pharmaceutical medicine plant-based? Not exactly, considering their patent-based model heightens the toxic side effects to the patient. Never mind the fact that, when Big Pharma needs it, they can simply outsource the science needed to prove their drug will follow through with its word to heal, while buying off anyone who could reveal its dirty ingredients — full of carcinogens, viruses, and dead human cells.

The report also reveals that putting efforts on world trade of just a few species of medicinal plants risks their sustainability. This then forces companies to substitute other plants for those they’ve devastated, a practice that can further harm human health.

The report also pointed out that, of the five drugs created for Alzheimer’s disease, two are derived from plants:

Galantamine, from Galanthus (snowdrops), Leucojum (snowflakes) and Narcissus (daffodils), was the first natural product drug to treat dementia symptoms. The second was Rivastigmine, which is chemically derived from physostigmine, an alkaloid from Physostigma venenosum (calabar bean).

The report also writes of another study that found 656 flowering plant species are used traditionally for diabetes. So while Big Pharma continues to try and bury the reality, the science is out there that medicine always begins with nature.

5 Easy Ways To Say “NO” In A More Graceful Manner

Sometimes we just don’t want to say no. A friend asks you to go out on a Friday night. You want to… badly! But, you also know you have an early morning, and told yourself you needed to keep it mellow, give yourself some much deserved me-time, and simply reconnect to that beautiful feeling of nothingness. Do you give in and go because you want to? Or because your friend wants you to?

Sometimes it’s that you really want to say no, but you’re too afraid. A co-worker asks you for help with a project; a friend asks you for help moving furniture; you get asked to grab dinner with a friend. You say yes to all of them, because the fear of how the other person will respond to your denial is too much to bear.

Wanting to be liked by others is something many of us can relate to. And there’s nothing wrong with it, but if you’re compromising your well-being, who you are, and what makes you happy, it’s time to take a step back.

There’s a common fear that saying no to someone — despite being too busy, super stressed, or uninterested — makes you selfish. It’s not. Saying no is just as important as saying yes. The difference is being true to yourself (because who wants a fake friend, anyway?)

If you know you need to start saying no more, but are worried about how others may perceive you, fear not. There’s an art to saying no, filled with respect and ease.

Practice Saying “No”

You never need a good reason to say no, but if fear is getting in your way, then it’s helpful to prepare through practice.

“Think of situations that have come up in the past, and then experiment with polite ways to say no,” suggests Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. “Actually say it out loud so that when the time arises you’re comfortable with the words.”

Trying saying something along the lines of, “That sounds like a really good cause, but I don’t have the time to devote to it,” Carter says. Or, “It’s so nice of you to think of me, but I can’t add anything else to my plate right now.”

Show Your Appreciation

One of the biggest concerns of saying no is offending the person requesting your help or presence. It can take a lot of courage to ask another person to share a task or moment with you, so be sure to show your appreciation. Saying something like, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I can’t today,” can set the tone of your denial in a much more loving way than simply saying “No, I can’t.”

Be Clear That You’re Saying No

Though there are definitely times when we are unsure of our commitment to something, saying maybe when we know we mean no is an unhealthy way of expressing ourselves. It also gives the other person the opportunity to follow up again and ask us the same question. Giving them hope when you know you aren’t going to follow through with their request isn’t fair to the other person. To avoid this, be clear that the answer is no. You can do this politely by saying a statement such as, “Thank you, but I’m going to have to decline.”

Offer a Referral

If someone asks you to help them with a project, but you don’t have time, try suggesting someone else you may know who would be good for the task. You can say, “My schedule is to full, but I know a great copywriter who would be perfect for this!”

Give an Explanation (If Necessary)

Only if you feel it’s benefitting your statement should you offer an explanation as to why you have said no. Explanations are often perceived as fake excuses to get out of things. Lying is never the answer. So, if you simply don’t want to, just say no. If you feel strongly about informing the other person that the ONLY reason you have to say no is because you have a prior commitment, feel free to inform them of that event, but keep it brief.

Scientists Receive Green Light To “Resurrect The Dead” Using Stem Cells

Death is a controversial subject in the medical field for many reasons. People rely on doctors to save them and their loved ones, but when fate has its way, the whole world can feel out of order. And while the death of a loved one may not feel final at first, we soon come to realize that, at least for the living who remain, it does mark an end.

That’s why it seems like a controversial yet incredible move for a US biotechnology company called Bioquark to have been given permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients and attempt to bring their central nervous systems back to life. They hope to eliminate patients’ need to rely on machines by reanimating parts of the upper spinal cord, where the lower brain stem is located, to potentially energize vital body functions like breathing and heartbeats.

Trial participants will have been declared certified dead and kept alive solely through life support machines. “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime,” said CEO of Bioquark Inc., Ira Pastor. The team, who was granted ethical permission from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in the US and India to begin trials on 20 subjects, is looking to recruit patients for its ReAnima Project as soon as possible.

The team will first complete a phase 1 trial, referred to as a non-randomized, proof-of-concept study. This will determine whether or not they are capable of reversing clinical brain death through drug administration, nerve stimulation, and laser therapy. They’ll also be looking at whether or not they can affect any changes in the meninges of the brain, layers of tissue located between the skull and the surface of the brain. Specifically, the team will be investigating improvements in the patients’ pulse, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and respiration.

The team will first seek permission from the families of the clinically dead, and then will proceed to treat the 20 chosen individuals over a six-week period in Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, India. These will then be monitored for several months, where the researchers will determine if any changes have been made. “We hope to see results within the first two to three months,” Pastor said.

To attempt to bring the patients back from the dead, Bioquark has administered four different types of treatments, which include:

  • Injecting simple protein chains called peptides into the patients’ spinal cord on a daily basis.
  • Injecting stem cells into their brains twice weekly.
  • Using the non-invasive treatment called transcranial laser therapy to activate the body’s natural recovery processes.
  • Using another non-invasive technique called nerve stimulation, which involves delivering electrical impulses to the median nerve of the upper limb.

“To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness,” Pastor noted.

The researchers are hoping that, if they can get patients’ brains to work again, and since many clinically dead can retain certain functions, like processing waste, digesting nutrients, healing wounds, and growing and maturing, people will have the chance to regain some semblance of life. But for now, the team is just trying to take it one step at a time.

“It is a long-term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study – but it is a bridge to that eventuality,” Pastor said

And Sergei Pavlian, founder and president of Bioquark Inc., added:

Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” said Sergei Paylian, the founder and chief science officer of Bioquark.

Check out the trial outline here.

Mindfulness Techniques You Can Use To Help Treat Children With Anxiety Disorders

When you have a cut, it often bleeds. People can see the wound, and acknowledge that you are injured. Mental health is much different. It cannot be “seen” in the concrete way we are used to associating pain with.

But in its own way, mental health is very visible—it just takes knowing the signs. And while we may view physical and mental health a bit differently, one thing is for sure: Western medicine reaches for a bandage first and foremost, often in the form of antidepressants and other medications.

Anxiety disorders plague more than one in four adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18, and are typically treated with such forms of medicine as mentioned above. What if there was another way to help them live a relatively healthy childhood without first resorting to pills?

A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati wanted to explore alternative treatment options that focus on solutions involving the mind, instead of pharmaceuticals.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the researchers examined nine participants between the ages of 9 and 16 who were all diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Each of them underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans while they practiced mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and different forms of therapeutic techniques like meditation, yoga, and learning how to pay nonjudgmental attention to one’s life.

The study’s co-author, Sian Cotton, director of the UC’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, noted that the anxiety of their patients was dramatically reduced following treatment. Cotton also acknowledged that the more mindfulness the participants practiced, the less anxious they reported feeling.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, provides a breakthrough for holistic treatments for such mental health issues, as it shows how mindfulness therapies may provide a treatment for childhood anxiety disorders.

“These integrative approaches expand traditional treatments and offer new strategies for coping with psychological distress,” explains Cotton.

Mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions promote the use of meditative practices to increase present-moment awareness of conscious thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in an effort to manage negative experiences more effectively,” Cotton continues.

Many children with anxiety disorders typically have poor coping skills in the presence of stress. But 80 percent of children with diagnosed anxiety disorders and 60 percent of those diagnosed with depression do not get help. Mindfulness exercises may, indeed, be able to allow children a safe and effective way to cope, even preventing relapses of depression or anxiety.

It may also provide people reluctant to taking medications another option. “Increasingly, patients and families are asking for additional therapeutic options, in addition to traditional medication-based treatments, that have proven effectiveness for improved symptom reduction. Mindfulness-based therapies for mood disorders is one such example with promising evidence,” Cotton notes.

The 12-week experiment showed the study’s researchers that mindfulness therapy boosted neural activity in a part of the brain responsible for processing cognitive and emotion information called the cingulate. Furthermore, they found that the therapy worked to increase brain activity in the insula, which is the part of the brain that monitors how the body feels on a psychological level.

“This raises the possibility that treatment-related increases in brain activity during emotional processing may improve emotional processing in anxious youth who are at risk for developing bipolar disorder,” explains fellow co-author Dr. Jeffrey Strawn, a professor in UC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and the director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program. “The path from understanding the effects of psychotherapy on brain activity to the identification of treatment response is a challenging one, and will require additional studies of emotional processing circuits.”

What To Practice?

As we saw in the study, practicing meditation, yoga, or learning to be aware of what happens in your life from a non judgmental point of view (shifting your consciousness) are effective means to reduce anxiety.

Here are a few techniques in meditation that can help not only quiet the mind but also visualize your what’s happening in your life in a way that is not judgmental, click here.


Related CE Article: A Buddhist Monk Disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh Explains Mindfulness For Times of Conflict

 


 

The Vatican Has Paid Nearly $4 Billion To Settle For Children Harmed By Sexual Abuse

The reality of child molestation by the Roman Catholic Church has surfaced time and time again, and yet, somehow, it continues to happen. If you watched the movie Spotlight, perhaps you have an idea of just how things are going down. But let’s break it down to date.

While you can’t put a price on the innocence of a child, you can put a price on just how much the Roman Catholic Church has paid out in lawsuits over the never-ending epidemic of child molestation wreaking havoc in its ranks.

According to Jack and Diane Ruhl of the National Catholic Reporter, who decided to research this particular topic, since 1950, the Vatican has spent a disgusting $3,994,797,060.10. That’s nearly $4 billion to keep things hush hush. That number may even be a bit conservative, as we cannot know for sure the agreed upon “under the table” amount. 

The figure is based on a three-month investigation of data, which includes a review of over 7,800 articles from LexisNexis Academic and NCR databases and information from BishopAccountability.org. Reports from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were also used. 

If the amount of money dished out was divided evenly amongst the U.S.’s 197 dioceses, each one would get almost $20 million.  An incredible amount of cash from hard working people who support the good faith and intentions of the Church — people who are parents to little boys being sexually abused — is being used to cover up unfathomable crimes executed by priests.

In the early nineties, a monk who worked at the Vatican opened up to The New Yorker, admitting: “You wouldn’t believe the amounts of money the church is spending to settle these priestly sexual-abuse cases.” By 1992, U.S. Catholic dioceses had given 400 million dollars to settle hundreds of molestation cases. That was a shocking chunk of change then, and that figure has only risen exponentially since. The men running the Vatican are well aware of the problem, and yet they refuse to provide justice.

When Pope Francis addressed hundreds of bishops on the issue, he said:

I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

His words of “generous commitment” only further show just how tightly knit the Church truly is — worried more about reputation than morality.

“The people he was talking to are the people who moved the pedophiles around to prey on kids,” said John Salveson, a 59-year-old Philadelphia businessman who was abused as a child by a priest. “If you gave me 100 years to pick a word to describe the U.S. bishops’ reaction to this crisis, ‘generous’ would never make the list.”


Related CE Articles:

Another Huge Vatican Linked Pedophile Ring Has Been Exposed

Ex-Chief Advisor For The UN Child Labour Program Arrested For Pedophilia

Multiple Catholic Priests Expose The Practice of Satanism Within The Vatican

UK Government & Catholic Church Claim Children Can Consent To Sexual Abuse


Terry McKiernan, who runs BishopAccountability.org, noted that Francis overlooked the fact that many dioceses around the country haven’t disclosed the names of abusers, and furthermore, continue to lobby against reforming statute of limitations laws that shield priests from prosecution for crimes from the past.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was once optimistic that Francis would push for change in how the Church handled the scandal, but has since lost hope. “There’s nothing he could say that would be helpful, because Catholic bishops have said it all before — ‘I’m sorry, we didn’t know, we’ll do better.’ We’ve heard that for decades,” he said. “This is a pope who has refused to take steps to expose one predator or punish one enabler. . . . He could simply defrock, demote, discipline, or even clearly denounce just one complicit bishop. He refuses, not one.”

Spanning many hundreds of years, children have suffered at the hands of child predators who remain safe in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith, yet organizations, investigators, reporters, etc. continue to raise awareness, while the Catholic Church continues their fight to block bills that would extend the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse.

Some Paediatricians Are Being Advised To Call Breastfeeding Dangerous & Unnatural

Is it dangerous to use the term natural? Paediatricians are now being advised to think so, particularly when it comes to describing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is natural though, and while it is certainly not the only way to feed your baby, and not physically an option for some women, it is nevertheless, and I think inarguably, the most natural and healthy way to feed a baby, the way women have been doing it since the beginning of time. So where’s the danger in referring to breastfeeding in this way?

Science Struggling With Term ‘Natural’

A bioethical argument published in the journal Paediatrics is now advising paediatricians that it’s time to stop referring to breastfeeding as something that is ‘natural.’

A short essay published by authors Jessica Martucci, Ph.D, and Anne Barnhill, Ph.D., builds on a previous publication from the Nuffield Council in bioethics. This 109-page report attempts to classify and explain how the term ‘natural’ may affect an individual’s decision-making process when it comes to health care, as stated:

“Commenting, praising, or favouring something on the basis of it’s being natural, or criticizing, condemning or disapproving of something on the grounds that is unnatural connects the notion of what is natural with value.”

As a basis for their argument, the authors recommend the term ‘natural’ not be used by paediatricians who are encouraging new mothers to breastfeed. It is essentially the opposite of other breastfeeding initiatives from the American Academy of Paediatrics, as follows:

“Breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition. Given the documented short and long-term medical and neuro-developmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.”

It appears that the authors assume that public health initiatives should be built based on the assumption that individuals can’t tell the difference between what is natural or normal and what is healthy. The authors go on to propose:

“Promoting breastfeeding as ‘natural’ may be ethically problematic and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that ‘natural’ approaches are presumptively healthier. This may ultimately challenge public health’s aims in other contexts, particularly childhood vaccination.”

Ahhh… so now it makes sense. It seems they are worried that by calling breastfeeding natural and healthier for the infant, parents might assume that whatever is natural is healthier in all cases, and thus potentially opt out of vaccinating their children.

It’s also important to think about where Doctors are being advised from.

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”  – (source)(source) Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal

This is a problem that’s well known in the medical community, which is why John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine published the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) entitled Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. In the report, he stated that most current published research findings are false.

How Can We Properly Define ‘Natural’?

The correct definition of natural is “existing in or formed by nature.” As you can see, at no point is it implied that natural equals healthier. In many cases natural does not mean healthy, such as the addition of “natural flavourings” in many processed foods.

A few months after this initial article was published, Martucci wrote an essay that goes on to describe the severe backlash that she and her colleague experienced in response. Apparently, many people took offence to the article, particularly to assertions like the ones below:

“Studies have shown that parents who resist vaccination tend to inhabit networks of like-minded individuals with similar beliefs. These pockets of anti-vaccination sentiment tend to overlap with reliance on and interest and complementary and alternative medicine, skepticism of institutional authority, and a strong commitment and interest in health knowledge autonomy and healthy living practices.”

There are a few important points to bring up here. Firstly, there are a number of assumptions being presented that need to be questioned. Many parents are labelled “anti-vax” for simply choosing to delay the recommended vaccination schedule, or choose which ones their children receive. The statement seems to be aimed at those who choose to either not vaccinate or at least question the safety of vaccines. However unintentionally, though, it also shows that there is a massive shift in the way parents are thinking nowadays, and that they aren’t just taking what doctors tell them at face value.

The authors go on to compare breastfeeding to not vaccinating:

“Meanwhile, synthetic substances, products, and technologies mass produced by industry (notably, vaccines) are seen as “unnatural” and often arouse suspicion and distrust. Part of this value system is the perception that what’s natural is safer, healthier and less risky.”

Again the authors fail to note a few obvious flaws in their argument; breastfeeding has absolutely no associated risks and vaccines have many potentially harmful side effects, with countless studies to showcase this.

It is important to note that both authors are employed at the same institution as Dr. Paul Offit, the Director of the Vaccine Education Centre at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and a professor of vaccinology at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

It seems clear the paper was motivated by a vested interest in encouraging mothers to vaccinate their children.

If you want to learn more specifically about the controversy and the information emerging that has more parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, you can check out this article:

The Top 6 Reasons Why Parents Should Never Be Forced To Vaccinate Their Children

You can also sift through or website as we’ve published many articles sourced with many studies regarding vaccines, and different types of vaccines.

Conclusion

You cannot compare something like breastfeeding to vaccines. Breastfeeding is natural, whether you like the term or not, and vaccines are unnatural — they are part of a man-made process that involves putting chemical additives into the human body.

Parents should have the right to choose, based on their own research, what they feel is right for their children, regardless of if breastfeeding continues to be defined as natural or not.

Thoughts, concerns? Get involved in the discussion in the comments section.

Much Love