A new study raises concerns of a possible association between cell phone radiation exposure and breast cancer in young women.
The research team, led by Dr. Lisa Bailey, a former president of the American Cancer Society’s California Division and one of California’s top breast surgeons, studied four young women – aged from 21 to 39 years old – with multifocal invasive breast cancer.
The researchers observed that all the patients developed tumors in areas of their breasts next to where they carried their cell phones, often for up to 10 hours per day, for several years. None of the patients had a family history of breast cancer. They all tested negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 – breast cancer genes linked to about one-half of breast cancer cases – and they had no other known breast cancer risks.
Imaging of the young girls’ breasts revealed a clustering of multiple tumor foci in the part of the breast directly under where their cell phones touched their body.
Tiffany Frantz, one of the young girls involved in the study, said that she had no idea of the risks involved. “I put my cellphone right in my bra,” said Miss Frantz in a TV interview that also won an Emmy. However, her mother Traci Frantz immediately made the connection right after Tiffany developed breast cancer at age 21. “We never took it seriously until after she was diagnosed.” Her tumors were exactly where her cellphone had been kept in her bra for about six years. No one ever told us that this was a very bad idea.” said Traci Frantz. Surgeons had to remove Tiffany’s left breast. Her family had no genetic or other risk factors.
Diet is the best prevention, most physicians would agree. A healthy diet leads to healthy lifestyles and to better health overall. Better health means lower risk of most diseases like breast cancer. Knowing that, here are ten foods that have components which are known to reduce breast cancer risks.
Probably the most well-known of cancer-fighting fruits, the blueberry contains anthocyanins – a substance common to dark-colored fruits – which are immune system mega-boosters. These help fend off the free radicals that can cause cancer mutations.
y the most well-known of the cancer prevention foods, broccoli contains anti-oxidants known to inhibit cancer development. Specifically, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound common to most cruciferous vegetables that can stop breast cancer cell growth.
In many parts of Europe, cabbage was the poor person’s food, making up a sizeable portion of their diet for much of the year. Socially, this means it’s now often considered a “low brow” food that is often ignored in today’s diet. Yet studies have shown that it contains many anti-carcinogenic compounds. One study showed that girls who ate cabbage four or more times a week were far less likely to develop breast cancer as adults. Adults can reap benefits too.
The lowly, lovely carrot is filled with beta carotene. This anti-oxidant is the grandaddy of antioxidants, giving the carrot its orange color and making it one of the most nutrient dense foods for this supplement. Most orange foods, especially sweet potatoes, share this trait. They aren’t just good for eyesight.
We often speak of veterans of our military as being someone to be thanked, appreciated, and honored for what they’ve done for our country. Yet when entering the workforce, many employers harbor fears that these same veterans, and their potential exposure to violence and training with weapons, might be violent or problematic.
The stereotypes usually associated with veterans, especially combat veterans, is one of a mixture of toughness and brutality with a strong sense of honor and duty. These are fostered by the media, movies, books, and television. Yet most veterans were not in combat and those that were are not likely to fit the stereotype used in media. Instead, they’re just like the rest of us, only more experienced with dealing with pressure and exercising self-restraint.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with the military’s veterans. Clearly it is a concern for those soldiers and their families. It is not, however, a “problem” in the sense that employers may believe. Vets with PTSD don’t often “snap” and if they do, it’s usually to cry or release emotions in non-violent ways. The television and film portrayal of a veteran “snapping” and attacking or killing people is, in real life, so rare that it statistically is difficult to measure.
Here’s how the numbers play out:
The Institute of Medicine estimated that 13-20 percent of the 2.6 million U.S. service members who’ve served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 have PTSD. That’s about 2.6 to 4 million PTSD sufferers. The National Institute of Mental Health says that about 7.7 million total U.S. adults (veterans and non-vets) have PTSD. That’s roughly 3.5 percent of the population. That’s about a third of the total U.S. adult population with a mood disorder.
Studies, including one published last year in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology have generally found that returning veterans with PTSD are about twice as likely to be arrested from criminal behavior as are those without a diagnosis. When compared to general population statistics, the roughly nine percent of veterans with PTSD who are arrested is about double the national average from the general population.
This doesn’t sound good except it doesn’t account for violence. Most arrests are for non-violent behavior. Of the nine percent of veterans in the study who committed criminal acts, only one percent were violent. Most were drug-related, usually marijuana or similar drugs for self-medication. This compares with the general population favorably, as about 2.5 percent of the crimes committed are violent – more than double the number for those with PTSD.
Altogether, this shows that the veteran with PTSD is more likely to get in trouble (likely due to not seeking treatment until after the trouble starts), but far less likely to be violent by comparison to the average American on the street.
This should tell employers two things: the veteran is less likely to be violent, not more likely, and the mental health care we offer our military veterans is still sorely substandard.
This lowered statistic comes thanks to what the military teaches: discipline, leadership, and responsibility. All things any good employer will value.
Faith as a Resource in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Is Associated with a Positive Interpretation of Illness and Experience of Gratitude/Awe
Copyright © 2013 Arndt Büssing et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Read original here.
The aim of this cross-sectional anonymous survey with standardized questionnaires was to investigate which resources to cope were used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We focussed on patients’ conviction that their faith might be a strong hold in difficult times and on their engagement in different forms of spirituality. Consecutively 213 German patients (75% women; mean age 43 ± 11 years) were enrolled. Fifty-five percent regarded themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R?S?), while 31% describe themselves as religious. For 29%, faith was a strong hold in difficult times. This resource was neither related to patients’ EDSS scores, and life affections, fatigue, negative mood states, life satisfaction nor to Positive attitudes. Instead it was moderately associated with a Reappraisal strategy (i.e., and positive interpretation of illness) and experience of gratitude/awe. Compared to spiritual/religious patients, R?S? individuals had significantly () lower Reappraisal scores and lower engagement in specific forms of spiritual practices. The ability to reflect on what is essential in life, to appreciate and value life, and also the conviction that illness may have meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development was low in R?S? individuals which either may have no specific interest or are less willing to reflect these issues.
There are several studies pointing to the fact that patients with chronic diseases may use their spirituality/religiosity (SpR) as a beneficial resource to cope [1–10], particularly patients with fatal diseases [11, 12]. However, less is known about relatively young patients with a chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS) in this respect. Due to its often unpredictable course of exacerbations and remissions with significant impairment of both quality of life and life goals and due to the fact that there is no “cure” and only symptomatic and immunomodulatory therapy , patients often experience social isolation, are depressed, and thus have a higher risk of suicide [14–16].
A qualitative study among 7 patients with MS found that, during the course of disease, patients observed “positive changes in terms of their values and outlook” . Interestingly, the patients reported that the disease associated with functional difficulties and psychological challenges was “ameliorated to some extent by an increased appreciation for life and spirituality” . Also a further qualitative study enrolling 13 patients with MS found that adaptation to the disease was influenced by a variety of factors, including religion/spirituality .
First findings from cross-sectional studies indicate that spiritual/religious attitudes among patients with MS are significantly lower when compared to patients with cancer [3, 5], also their engagement in different forms of spiritual practices was significantly lower than in cancer patients . Chen et al.  measured “overall belief and spirituality” in MS patients from the US and found that the spirituality scores were not related to age of diagnosis; moreover, most of the patients suggested a positive connection between spirituality and disability rather than a negative connection . Makros and McCabe  found no significant association between spirituality/religiosity and psychological adjustment or quality of life among patients with MS; however, intrinsic religious orientation and quest religious orientation were associated with low psychological adjustment. To explain these surprising findings, Makros and McCabe  suggested that either patients utilized their religiosity (i.e., praying) to cope with their health affections and impaired quality of life, or they were more depressed because their religious activities did not result in the desired positive resolutions. Presumably, time plays a crucial role because even those patients with low interest in spirituality/religiosity might reactively “use” a spiritual source in acute situations (and quit when their expectations are not fulfilled), while during the long-lasting chronic course of illness there may occur religious developments and particularly those with a vital spirituality may continue to practice their religiosity whether this may have a beneficial effect on their health or not.
Although the measures and patient samples are not comparable, it was obvious that in US patients with MS  the “overall belief and spirituality” score was relatively high (mean , with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5), while German patients scored relatively low both on the (religious) Trust scale (mean in MS compared to the of the whole sample of chronic patients; maximum score 100) and also on the (spiritual) Search scale (mean compared to the of the whole sample; maximum scores 100) . Thus, the relevance of spirituality to cope with MS may differ with respect to cultural and specific religious issues. In fact, Germany is a more secular society with about 42% of patients with chronic pain diseases who would regard themselves as neither religious nor spiritual , and this may have an impact on their strategies to cope with illness.
The aim of the study was thus to investigate (1) MS patients’ conviction that their faith might be a “strong hold in difficult times”, and (2) the impact of patients’ spiritual/religious attitudes on their life satisfaction, mood states, affections of daily life, internal adaptive coping strategies, and engagement in spiritual practices. We suggested that having faith is not related to the course of disease or life satisfaction but with the ways patients may view their life and how they cope with illness.
2. Materials and Methods
We focussed on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) because they are relatively young, and they have to deal with an illness which is characterized by an often unpredictable course of exacerbations and remissions with significant impairment of life goals and by the fact that there is no “cure.”
All individuals of this prospective, anonymous, multi-centre, cross-sectional study were informed about the purpose of the study, were assured of confidentiality and their right to withdraw at any time, and asked to provide informed consent. Ethical approval was obtained by the IRB of Witten/Herdecke University (number 21/2012).
Outpatients with MS were consecutively recruited from four specialized hospitals, that is, Department of Neurology and Palliative Care, Köln-Merheim Hospital, Cologne; Department of Neurology, Communal Hospital Herdecke; Neurological Hospital Anholt, Clinic of Lüdenscheid; and Augustahospital Anholt, Isselburg.
Inclusion criteria were verified diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, age between 18 and 65 years, and written consent to participate; exclusion criteria were manifest psychic diseases/affections (ICD10-classifications F0–F5).
2.2.1. Adaptive Internal Coping Strategies
Adaptive coping strategies in response to MS were measured with the AKU questionnaire (AKU is an acronym of the German translation of “Adaptive Coping with Disease”), which was designed to identify adaptive coping styles, such as to create favorable conditions, search for information, medical support, religious support, social support, initiative spirit, and positive interpretation of disease [5, 21]. For this analysis we focused on internal resources rather than external resources, and used the following subscales. (i) Reappraisal: positive interpretation of illness (Cronbach’s alpha = .83) addresses a reappraisal attitude referring to cognitive processes of life reflection (i.e., reflect on what is essential in life; illness has meaning; illness as a chance for development; appreciation of life because of illness).
(ii) Conscious way of living (alpha = .73) addresses cognitive and behavioral strategies in terms of internal powers and virtues (i.e., healthy diet; physical fitness; living consciously; keep away harmful influences; change life to get well).
(iii) Positive attitudes (alpha = .68) refers to internal cognitive and behavioral strategies (i.e., realization of shelved dreams and wishes; resolving cumbering situations of the past; take life in own hands; doing all that what pleases; positive thinking; avoiding thinking of illness).
We added two single items addressing the attitudes towards their belief, that is, X1 “My faith is a strong hold in difficult times” and X2 “Because of my experiences I have lost my faith”.
All items were scored on a 5-point scale from disagreement to agreement (0: does not apply at all; 1: does not truly apply; 2: do not know (neither yes nor no); 3: applies quite a bit; 4: applies very much). The sum scores were referred to a 100% level (transformed scale score). Scores > 50% indicate high agreement or utilization of coping strategy, while scores < 50% indicate low usage of respective strategy.
2.2.2. Engagement in Spiritual Activities
To differentiate various forms of specific spiritual practices, we used the SpREUK-P questionnaire [4, 22]. The generic instrument was designed to measure the engagement in organized and private religious, spiritual, existential, and philosophical practices. In its shortened 17-item version it differentiates 5 factors : (i) religious practices (alpha = .82; i.e., praying, church attendance, and religious events, religious symbols);
(ii) humanistic practices (alpha = .79; i.e., help others, consider their needs, do good, connectedness, etc.);
(iii) existential istic practices (alpha = .77; i.e., meaning in life, self-realization, and get insight);
(iv) gratitude/awe (alpha = .77; i.e., feeling of great gratitude, feelings of wondering awe, and experienced and valued beauty);
(v) spiritual (mind body) practices (alpha = .72; i.e., meditation, rituals, and working on a mind-body discipline (i.e., yoga, qigong, mindfulness, etc.)).
The items of the SpREUK-P are scored on a 4-point scale (0: never; 1: seldom; 2: often; 3: regularly). The scores can be referred to a 100% level (transformed scale score), which reflect the degree of an engagement in the distinct forms of a spiritual/religious practice (“engagement scores”). Scores > 50% indicate higher engagement, while scores < 50 indicate rare engagement.
2.2.3. Spiritual/Religious Self Categorization
According to their responses to the SpREUK items f2.6 (“To my mind I am a religious individual” = R) and f1.1 (“To my mind I am a spiritual individual” = S), the practitioners were categorized as religious but not spiritual (R+S?), as not religious but spiritual (R?S+), as both religious and spiritual (R+S+), or as neither religious nor spiritual (R?S?) . The respective items were scored on a 5-point scale from disagreement to agreement (0: does not apply at all; 1: does not truly apply; 2: do not know (neither yes nor no); 3: applies quite a bit; 4: applies very much). To avoid internal conflicts, we did not provide information how a religious or a spiritual individual should be defined.
2.2.4. Life Satisfaction
Life satisfaction was measured using the Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale (BMLSS)  which uses items of Huebner’s “Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale” [25, 26] and was tested among adults . The eight items of the BMLSS address intrinsic (Myself, Life in general), social (Friendships, Family life), external (School situation, Where I live), and prospective dimensions (Financial situation, Future prospects). The internal consistency of the instrument was good (alpha = .87) . For this analysis we used the 10-item version of the BMLSS which includes satisfaction with the health situation and satisfaction with the own abilities to manage daily life concerns. Moreover, we used three further items addressing satisfaction with the support by family, partner, or friends as an additional scale (“satisfaction with social support”).
Each item was introduced by the phrase “I would describe my level of satisfaction as …,” and scored on a 7-point scale from dissatisfaction to satisfaction (0: terrible; 1: unhappy; 2: mostly dissatisfied; 3: mixed (about equally satisfied and dissatisfied); 4: mostly satisfied; 5: pleased; 6: delighted). The BMLSS sum score refers to a 100% level (“delighted”).
2.2.5. Mood States
To assess mood states we relied on the 19-item ASTS (“Aktuelle Stimmungslage Skala”) scale of Dalbert  which refers to the profile of mood states (POMS) . It measures the state component of subjective well-being and differentiates five mood states, that is, positive mood (6 items), sorrow (3 items), despair (3 items), tiredness (4 items), and anger (3 items). The internal consistency of the factors ranges from alpha = .83 to .94. The scale has a 7-point rating scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 7 (very strong).
2.2.6. Multiple Sclerosis Associated Fatigue
To measure fatigue associated with MS, we used the “Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions” (FSMC) by Penner et al. . This 20-item instrument has a very good internal consistency (alpha > .91). Ten items refer to the cognitive scale, and 10 items to the motoric scale which all were scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (does not at all) to 5 applies very much. FSMC sum scores ?43 indicate mild fatigue, ?53 moderate fatigue, and ?63 strong fatigue.
2.2.7. EDSS Score
To classify the condition of the patients, we used the “Expanded Disability Status Scale” (EDSS). The EDSS is a method of quantifying disability in multiple sclerosis and monitoring changes in the level of disability over time . The EDSS scale ranges from 0 to 10 in 0.5 unit increments that represent higher levels of disability. Scoring is based on an examination by a neurologist.
EDSS steps from 1.0 to 3.5 refer to people with MS who are able to walk unrestricted and are based on measures of impairment in eight functional systems, that is, (i) pyramidal: weakness or difficulty moving limbs
(ii) cerebellar: ataxia, loss of coordination, or tremor
(iii) brainstem: problems with speech, swallowing, and nystagmus
(iv) sensory: numbness or loss of sensations
(v) bowel and bladder function
(vi) visual function
(vii) cerebral (or mental) functions
Each functional system is scored on a scale from 0 (no disability) to 5 or 6 (more severe disability).
EDSS steps from 4.0 to 9.5 are defined by the impairment to walking.
2.2.8. Self-Perceived Health Affections
Patients’ self-perceived impairment of daily life though the health situation/disease (“health affections”) was measured with a visual analogue scale ranging from 0 (none) to 100 (unbearable).
2.3. Statistical Analyses
Descriptive statistics as well as analyses of variance, first-order correlations, and regression analyses were computed with SPSS 20.0. We judged a as significant; for correlation analyses we chose a significance level . With respect to classifying the strength of the observed correlations, we regarded as a strong correlation, an between .3 and .5 as a moderate correlation, an between .2 and .3 as a weak correlation, and as no or a negligible correlation.
3.1. Characteristics of Enrolled Patients
Two hundred thirteen patients were enrolled in this study. 75% were women, and 22% were men (4% did not provide these data). Their mean age was years. Most were living with a partner (73%) and 27% were living alone (either single or divorced). 51% had relapsing remitting MS course, 25% progressive relapsing MS, and 23% chronic progressive MS. Their mean EDSS score was , ranging from 0 to 7.5 (26% did not provide the respective data). All further socio demographic data are presented in Table 1.
Table 1: Characteristics of 213 patients with MS.
3.2. Attitudes towards Belief Ad Faith
The majority of patients had a Christian denomination (74%), 4% were Muslims, 3% had other denominations, and 18% none. With respect to their spiritual/religious self-categorization, 70% would not regard themselves as religious (Table 1); that is, 54% were neither religious nor spiritual (R?S?), 16% not religious but spiritual (R?S+), while 19% were religious but not spiritual (R+S?) and 12% both religious and spiritual (R+S+).
The statement “My faith is a strong hold in difficult times” was true for 29%, 52% rejected it, and 19% were undecided. Only 6% stated that they had lost their faith because of distinct experiences in life, 77% disagreed, and 17% were undecided.
As shown in Table 2, the perception of “faith as a strong hold in difficult times” was not related to patients’ health status, life satisfaction, negative mood states, or positive attitudes, while it correlated weakly with positive mood and conscious way of living; instead it was moderately associated with reappraisal: positive interpretation of illness and with patients’ engagement in spiritual practices, particularly with religious practices and gratitude/awe. Having lost faith due to specific experiences in life was only weakly associated with reduced positive mood and low religious practices. In line with the aforementioned statement on faith as a resource, also patients’ engagement in religious practices did not significantly correlate with health, mood, or life satisfaction, but moderately with reappraisal: positive interpretation of illness and gratitude/awe (Table 2).
Table 2: Correlation analyses.
With respect to the mean scores, those patients with faith as a strong hold have high scores on reappraisal: positive interpretation of illness, while those lacking this faith have Reappraisal scores which indicate a lack of a positive interpretation of illness (Table 3). In contrast, whether patients have this faith or not, they all have high scores for conscious way of living, positive attitudes, and life satisfaction. Engagement in spiritual/religious, existential, and humanistic practices was significantly higher in individuals with faith as a resource in difficult times and also with respect to gratitude/awe which is not an exclusive religious topic (Table 4).
Table 3: Having faith and associations with health status, life satisfaction, and adaptive coping strategies.
Table 4: Having faith and engagement in spiritual practices/activities.
Having this faith as a resource was not significantly influenced by gender, family status, educational level, or course of disease (data not shown). Instead, faith was a strong hold particularly for 67% of R+S+ and 60% of R+S? individuals, while of low relevance for R?S? (12%) and of minor relevance for R?S+ (6%) patients.
3.3. Attitudes and Convictions of Nonreligious and Nonspiritual (R?S?) Patients
Patients with this R?S? attitude did not differ from their religious/spiritual counterparts with respect to their EDSS score, daily life affections, fatigue, life satisfaction, or positive mood (data not shown), while they had significantly lower positive interpretation of illness scores (Table 5). These R?S? patients had the lowest engagement in religious practices, spiritual mind-body practices, and existential practices, while the differences with respect to humanistic practices were significant only in trend (Table 6). Of interest was the fact that gratitude/awe was lowest in R?S? patient, and the highest in R+S+ patients.
Table 5: Spiritual/religious self-categorization and associations with health status, life satisfaction and adaptive coping strategies.
Table 6: Spiritual/religious self-categorization and engagement in spiritual practices/activities.
Although it is not the “aim” of religion to generate well-being, several may nevertheless have the expectation that SpR is a resource to generate or at least maintain physical and mental health in cases of chronic illness. While it is true that SpR can be a resource to cope with chronic disease [1–12, 31], the current data indicate that even relatively young patients with MS regard their faith as a “strong hold in difficult” times. However, this attitude was not significantly related to the MS symptoms, course of diseases, daily life affections, fatigue, life satisfaction, or the development of positive attitudes as an adaptive coping strategy. Instead, patients with faith as a resource had significantly higher reappraisal strategies (i.e., Interpretation of illness), higher gratitude/awe scores, and somewhat better positive mood and conscious way of living. This means that their faith was not instrumentalized or reduced to a “tool” to restore health but was related to a more reflected look at what might be essential in life and to appreciate and value life despite the disease. Specifically, the scale reappraisal: positive interpretation of illness addresses patients’ ability to reflect on what is essential in life; that illness may have meaning; that illness may be regarded as a chance for development; and to an appreciation of life because (or despite) of illness. Similarly, the scale gratitude/awe deals with the frequency patients experience strong feelings of gratitude, feelings of wondering awe, and how often they experienced and valued beauty in life. Both scales are moderately intercorrelated and implicitly address patients’ ability to face life as it is. It was striking that these scales were moderately related to faith and to a religious attitude; in fact, engagement in religious practices showed the same correlation pattern as the statement on faith as a strong hold in difficult times.
What might be of relevance for patients which may have access to such a resource is not necessarily true for those lacking faith as a resource or who regard themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R?S?). While these a-religious/sceptic patients did not differ with respect to daily life affections, fatigue, life satisfaction, or positive mood, they have lower abilities for a positive interpretation of illness, which was significantly higher in R+S+ and R?S+ individuals. Also gratitude/awe was significantly lower in R?S? patients with MS; moreover, they were less engaged in existential practices. This again indicates that interest in or openness for spiritual/religious issues may have an influence on how patients cope with illness and how they perceive and value their life and open their mind for others. This ability was low in R?S? individuals: they may have either no specific interest or are less willing to reflect these issues. How these individuals could be supported requires further exploration.
An important argument could be that particularly R?S? patients might suffer from cognitive impairments which thus could result in lower abilities to reflect and value life. Tinnefeld et al.  found that cognitive deficits may occur in patients with MS even in the absence of physical affections. Also Schulz et al.  pointed to the fact that even in the early stages of MS one may find discrete cognitive impairments. However, the patients enrolled in this study had moderate disability scores (mean EDSS scores ; 33% with EDSS scores 4.0 to 6.5, and 2% with scores > 6.5), and among them neither the EDSS scores nor self-perceived daily life affections, fatigue, life satisfaction, or positive mood did significantly differed between R?S? and SpR patients.
A limitation of this study was the cross-sectional design, which does not allow for causal interpretations; longitudinal studies are needed to substantiate the findings of this study. Moreover, a further limitation is that we recruited outpatients with rather moderate EDSS scores. Most of them have a normal daily life and thus may “ignore” their underlying disease. With respect to the categorized EDSS scores (see Table 1), patients with higher EDSS scores had higher fatigue scores (; ) and daily life affections (; ), and were more tired (; ), while the other psychometric variables did not significantly differ (data not shown).
Further analyses with high-maintenance patients with progressive courses of disease are needed.
Although spirituality/religiosity is a relevant strategy to cope also in relatively young individuals with MS, faith as a resource was not significantly associated with mood states, course of disease, or life satisfaction. Instead, this resource was associated with their ability to reflect on what is essential in life, with the conviction that illness may have meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development, and to appreciate and value life. A recent systematic review found that there is evidence that specific approaches of mind-body medicine (i.e., yoga, mindfulness, relaxation, and biofeedback) might be helpful to ameliorate MS symptoms . Particularly yoga and mindfulness training improved MS fatigue with low side effects. Both approaches can be regarded as secular forms of spirituality (although they can be found in specific religious contexts, too) which might be of interest for the majority of a-religious patients with MS because these interventions focus awareness on the self, environment, interaction with others, and life style. In fact, at least in healthy individuals within a 6-month yoga practice, a significant increase of specific aspects of spirituality (i.e., conscious interactions/compassion, religious orientation) and mindfulness can be observed . Particularly R?S? individuals showed moderate effects for an increase of such conscious interactions (with others, self, and nature) and compassion. In contrast, religious individuals may find hope and hold in their faith, and related engagement in individual forms of religiosity (i.e., private prayers, meditation, rituals) and/or organized forms of religiosity (i.e., church attendance). Further research in this direction is needed.
The authors are grateful to all the patients who supported the study by completing the questionnaires.
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The Physical Effects of Aromatherapy in Alleviating Work-Related Stress on Elementary School Teachers in Taiwan
People use aromatherapy to relieve the symptoms of physical and psychological stress. However, previous studies have not precisely clarified a scientific basis for the beneficial effects of aromatherapy. Therefore, the overall purpose of this study was to elucidate the beneficial effect of aromatherapy in relieving work-related stress. Twenty-nine elementary school teachers from Taiwan participated in this study. The experimental procedures comprised 2 phases. First, we verified the effect of aromatherapy by conducting 2 blind tests. We used natural bergamot essential oil extracted from plants and synthesized a chemical essential oil as the placebo to do the aromatherapy. Second, we analyzed the performance of the aromatherapy treatment on the teachers who had various workloads. We measured the teachers’ heart rate variability to evaluate their autonomic nervous system activity. The results show that only the natural bergamot essential oil had an effect and that the aromatherapy treatment relieved work-related stress of teachers with various workloads. However, the aromatherapy treatment had a weak effect on young teachers who had a heavy workload. Moreover, the aromatherapy treatment exhibited no effect on teachers who belong to the abnormal body mass index subgroup having a heavy workload.
We conducted this trial to examine the potential of using natural bergamot essential oil in appeasing the work stress of elementary schoolteachers. The response of automatic nervous system has a significant change after the natural essential bergamot oil treatment. We also analyzed the effect of aromatherapy at different workloads. The aromatherapy may alleviate the symptoms of physical and psychological stress. The results also suggest that age and BMI factors affect aromatherapy performance when teachers have a heavy workload.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffers from either gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, it may be that you are actually deficient in certain trace minerals rather than allergic to wheat. A growing number of doctors with an understanding of the fact that many of today’s foods are lacking in vital nutrients are discovering that their gluten-averting patients experience dramatic health improvements when they get their mineral levels back up to par.
One such mineral for which a majority of Americans is likely deficient is zinc. Holistic Nutrition Therapist, Clinical Herbalist and Healing Foods Chef Katie Bauer, M.A., C.N.E., C.H., explains in a recent blog posting how many people with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease suffer from severe malabsorption, which means they are not absorbing enough nutrients. Many Americans, she points out, already consume less than 10 milligrams per day of zinc, which is less than the amount required for good health — and those with gluten issues are absorbing even less.
Gluten is commonly believed to harm the ability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients like zinc, which in turn leads to deficiency. This may be the case for some, but it may also be the case that people with gluten intolerance are not consuming enough zinc, which could be exacerbating or even directly causing gluten intolerance symptoms. Zinc, after all, is critical for the proper function of more than 100 enzymes in the body, including those that regulate digestion.
“Zinc supports a healthy immune system, is needed for wound healing, and is involved in energy metabolism, hemoglobin production, carbon dioxide transport, prostaglandin function, synthesis of collagen, protein synthesis, and vitamin A metabolism,” writes Bauer. “Zinc is important for male fertility and supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.”
Zinc has also been scientifically shown to be a powerful healing agent for damaged mucosal lining, a thin membrane that protects the body from contamination during digesting. Many people with gluten issues suffer from a damaged digestive tract, for which supplementation with the synergistic nutrient blend zinc and l-carnosine could provide lasting improvement and even healing.
Magnesium deficiency also linked to gluten issues
Another common mineral deficiency that may play a role in gluten intolerance and sensitivity is magnesium. You may already be aware that magnesium is essential for healthy bones and the proper absorption and use of vitamin D by the body. But did you know that this essential mineral is also crucial for the health of muscles, the nervous system, the heart and the metabolic system?
According to Dr. Craig A. Maxwell, an acclaimed integrative and osteopathic physician based out of Ohio, a whole host of seemingly diverse illness symptoms may actually be the varied consequences of a magnesium deficiency. While neither Bauer nor Dr. Maxwell suggest that gluten sensitivity is directly caused by a magnesium deficiency, the link between the condition and the deficiency appears to go both ways.
While it is definitely the case that many people with gluten issues actually are allergic to wheat, which in turn causes their bodies to absorb fewer minerals on top of an already mineral-deficient diet, it may be the case for others that a mineral deficiency is the actual cause of gluten sensitivity. It is thus important to consult with your doctor or naturopath, or perhaps speak with a nutritionist, about getting tested for mineral deficiency. From there, you can work on getting your levels balanced and seeing whether or not this helps address your gluten issues.
Sources for this article include:
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/042519_gluten_intolerance_mineral_deficiency_zinc.html#ixzz2ifBP0yb6
There have been studies under the radar of public awareness or mainstream media disclosure demonstrating chlorella’s ability to improve diabetic symptoms. It’s certain that very few MDs know of these studies.
It seems that the wonders of this single-cell microalgae superfood continue to surface. Chlorella has demonstrated several immune system benefits, detoxification benefits, liver health enhancement, and even anticancer activities.
Now it looks like diabetes 2 and prediabetic or metabolic disorder individuals can address those issues directly with chlorella while enjoying all the other benefits this centuries-old, fresh water, green microalgae can offer.
Three studies for chlorella’s affect on insulin and blood sugar issues
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to metabolize nutrients, especially glucose, primarily for energy needs but for other functions as well. Diabetes 1 sufferers have insufficient pancreatic functions of insulin, while type 2 diabetics are “insulin resistant.” Their pancreas is pumping insulin, but cells are not taking it in for metabolic energy conversion. 
Just before the type 2 diabetes designation comes a prediabetic situation commonly called metabolic syndrome or metabolic disorder syndrome. This malady is characterized by obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, high liver triglyceride counts and early signs of some insulin resistance. 
All of these situations can be improved with chlorella consumption.
A study from Seoul, South Korea, published in a 2009 edition of Nutrition Research and Practice used two types of rats. One type had diabetes type 2 and the other type was normal.
Both types were subdivided into three groups according to the percentage of Chlorella vulgaris in their diets: 0 percent, 1 percent and 5 percent.
After measuring several markers in all sets of rats, the researchers decided that their study provided enough positive information about chlorella’s ability to reverse high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, without pushing the pancreas to produce more insulin.
Instead, chlorella was able to create a hypoglycemic effect that countered the insulin resistance-induced hyperglycemia. 
Another Korean study with Chlorella vulgaris and rats (chlorella is popular in East Asia) took two sets of rats separated by diets. One group was fed a normal diet, while the other was fed a high fat diet.
Then those groups were subdivided further into no chlorella, 5 percent chlorella and 10 percent chlorella in their diets for nine weeks.
“In conclusion, 10% Chlorella intake was more effective for blood glucose regulation than 5% Chlorella intake in rats fed a high fat diet. Chlorella intake may prevent insulin resistance in Wistar rats fed a high fat diet.”
Well good for the rats. But what about we humans? Here’s a study that promotes human use.
This study was conducted in Taiwan. Again, rats were used, but this time some rats were fed fructose-rich chow and then fed chlorella. Perhaps this was to mimic the high HFCS processed food diet that has taken over most industrialized regions. Even with too much fructose, the rats fed chlorella fared well.
Their conclusion: “The obtained results suggest that oral administration of Chlorella has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, which may be used as an adjuvant therapy for patients with insulin resistance.” [Emphasis added]
These studies demonstrate the potential for using chlorella to prevent or diminish insulin resistance and high blood glucose issues, even diabetes type 2, while enjoying chlorella’s detoxification and immune-boosting dynamics.
Remember, chlorella is a food, not a synthetically derived supplement. Anywhere from 3 to 5 grams intake daily is recommended for generally improving health, while more may be added for intensely therapeutic purposes.
Sources for this article include:
The primary treatment for breast cancer is surgery to remove the bulk of the cancerous cells. In accepted medicine, there is no alternative to chemotherapy when chemo is recommended. Not every cancer requires chemotherapy after-treatments, however, and breast cancer can often mean non-chemo alternatives after surgery.
There are, however, alternatives to chemotherapy being investigated and there are many alternative medical options that are generally untested by science.
New Alternatives to Chemotherapy
One new approach is called cyclic peptide inhibitor treatment. This targets the sugar-hungry cancer cells often associated with breast cancers. Study of the treatment is being undertaken at the University of Southhampton and is funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign.
The treatment exploits a link between sugar processing in cells and their growth and division. Cancer cells tend to process sugars at higher rates and grow and divide much faster than do normal, healthy cells. Targeting their ability to receive and process sugars inhibits their ability to continue to grow and divide at a higher rate, thus slowing and even halting the cancer growth process.
This therapy is still in preliminary stages, but has the potential to “starve” cancer cells to death and has far fewer side effects than does chemotherapy.
Other alternatives that are becoming more widely accepted or that are being investigated are hormone replacement therapies and some forms of targeted radiation therapy.
There are hundreds of alternative medicine options that are not widely accepted by medical science and that have not been well-investigated by science. Many of these can have an affect on cancer outcomes, but the positive effects are both unproven and sporadic.
Scientific inquiry into the efficacy of alternative medical options is often limited to mere surveys or retrospective surveys of patient charts and outcomes. Few specific therapies have been directly tested rigorously and even fewer have had anything more than just comparison studies done.
In short, while there are many “natural cures” for cancer being promoted, there is little to no scientific evidence to prove or disprove how well they work. There are many reasons for this, of course, ranging from the lack of incentive to fund studies that have no chance of returning investment by providing new, marketable drugs to the fact that many alternatives are not widely understood or accepted by medical researchers and scientists.
Menopause is the permanent end of a woman’s menstrual periods. Menopause can occur naturally or be caused by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. A woman is said to have completed natural menopause when she has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. For American women, this typically happens at around age 51 or 52.
Some symptoms that women experience as they age are related to menopause and decreased activity of the ovaries. Other symptoms may be related to aging in general. For decades, menopausal hormone therapy was a widely used treatment for menopausal symptoms, but findings from the Women’s Health Initiative raised serious concerns about the long-term safety of menopausal hormone therapy. Natural products or mind and body practices are sometimes used in an effort to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Here are 4 things to know if you are considering a complementary health practice for menopausal symptoms:
- Mind and body practices such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, hypnosis, and acupuncture may help reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. Researchers looked at mind and body therapies for menopausal symptoms and found that yoga, tai chi, and meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain.
- Many natural products, such as black cohosh, soy isoflavone supplements, and DHEA, have been studied for their effects on menopausal symptoms, but scientists have found little evidence that they are helpful. There is also no conclusive evidence that the herbs red clover, kava, or dong quai reduce hot flashes.
- Natural products used for menopausal symptoms can have side effects and can interact with other botanicals or supplements or with medications. For example, United States Pharmacopeia experts suggest that women should discontinue use of black cohosh and consult a health care provider if they have a liver disorder or develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice. Also, concerns have been raised about the safety of DHEA because it is converted in the body to hormones, which are known to carry risks.
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Switzerland-based pharmaceutical kingpin Novartis is under investigation in Japan after two universities there recently caught the company engaging in scientific fraud. According to new reports, a former Novartis employee fabricated clinical trial data to exaggerate the benefits of the blood pressure drug Diovan (valsartan), which is currently licensed for use in more than 100 countries, and Japan’s Ministry of Health is now trying to determine whether or not Novartis in any way violated Japanese law with its actions.
Earlier this year, five papers authored by the once prominent Japanese cardiologist Hiroaki Matsubara were retracted by the American Heart Association (AHA), including the main publication of the well-known 2009 Kyoto Heart Study. Not long after, the legitimacy of the Jikei Heart Trial, which was first published in The Lancet journal back in 2007, was also called into question. As it turns out, both clinical trials were worked on by former Novartis employee Nobuo Shirahashi, who failed to disclose his affiliation with Novartis while serving as a member of the statistical analysis organizations for both studies, and both studies were riddled with serious errors.
The issue generated considerable attention last year when Yoshiki Yui from Kyoto University Hospital’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine wrote a letter to The Lancet expressing concerns about some figures included as part of the Jikei Heart Study. According to his estimate, the reported averages and standard deviations (SD) for blood pressure levels across the various test groups were strange and seemingly unlikely to be legitimate.
“In the Jikei Heart Study, the coincidence of identical means and SDs for achieved SBP suggests that the normal distribution of the two groups is the same, because the normal distribution is determined by mean and SD; this is very odd,” wrote Yui. “In other words, a randomized but heterogeneous population becomes homogeneous after a 3-year drug intervention. This ought to be the other way round.”
You can read Yui’s full letter here:
Two prominent Japanese universities say Novartis employee fabricated data
Since that time, it has become apparent that Shirahashi had been working for Novartis when the duplicitous data was published and had potentially fudged some of the study data intentionally in order to boost the profile for Diovan. Both the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and the Jikei University School of Medicine seem to think this may have been the case, as they, too, reported finding evidence of data fabrication, according to Chemistry World.
“In August, the ministry of health launched an investigation, which has led to the retraction of several papers relating to Diovan’s ability to prevent angina and stroke,” writes Emma Stoye for Chemistry World. “Some hospitals have stopped offering the drug, and investigations are now underway at three other universities that hosted Diovan clinical trials.”
Shirahashi has denied that he in any way manipulated study data, according to the India Times, as have the other researchers who worked alongside him. Novartis has also denied allegations that it was complicit in Shirahashi’s purported misgivings, promising to cooperate with the Japanese government’s investigation into the matter. But not everyone is convinced of Novartis’ claimed innocence.
“Data was manipulated,” stated Toshikazu Yoshikawa, president of the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine back in July about the Kyoto Heart Study. The university, which had earlier affirmed that Diovan can help lower blood pressure based on its findings, later reversed its position following the discovery of fraud. “We apologize for causing serious trouble,” he added, vowing to “return his salary to take responsibility for the scandal.”
Novartis, on the other hand, in typical drug company fashion, has admitted no responsibility whatsoever in the matter.
Sources for this article include: