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29 March 2012

How Your Mind Can Reprogram Your Genes

How much control do we really have over our own lives? And is there anything we can change to do a better job at managing our lives? These questions have puzzled mankind since the beginning of time. And now, the emerging science of epigenetics is offering some answers that put true control within your reach—by simply changing your beliefs.

“Contrary to what many people are being led to believe, a lot of emphasis placed on genes determining human behavior is nothing but theory and doctrine,” says Konstantin Eriksen, guest writer for Wake Up World, an online news medium that offers alternative voices to mass media.

“We are free to make decisions that impact our lives and those of others. … Our beliefs can change our biology. We have the power to heal ourselves, increase our feelings of self-worth and improve our emotional state.”

26 March 2012

America is catching on - Soda sales drop dramatically as healthier choices continue to grow

(NaturalNews) Better late than never, but more Americans finally seem to be getting the message they've been consuming far too much soda and as such, sales of pop have been falling.

In reality, soda sales have been falling for about seven years, but they really dropped off in 2011 as consumers made other choices about what sort of refreshments to put in their bodies.

The beverage market actually grew last year by about 0.9 percent, but according to sales data, consumers chose more coffee and teas, sports and energy drinks and bottled water over soda and fruit juices.

Beverage Marketing, a research, consulting and financial-services firm that tracks the beverage industry, said 2011 was the second year of growth for the beverage industry after two consecutive declines in 2008 and 2009.

25 March 2012

Living with the Emotional Side of Scoliosis

Dr. Cantor is a clinical psychologist and has been on staff in the Department of Medical Social Work and Psychology at Primary Children's Medical Center for 21 years. She specializes in working with children with chronic medical problems. She has also worked with the Rehabilitation Service for 9 years and with the Spina Bifida Clinic for 21 years.

What concerns do most teenage girls have when a physical deformity like scoliosis is first diagnosed? How about their parents?

Dr. Cantor: Both parents and teenagers will have concerns related to the type of treatment that will be necessary and the prospect of progressive disability. The need to make decisions about treatment will be stressful, and the possibility of major surgery generally raises a high level of anticipatory anxiety. Teenagers may be particularly concerned about the effects of scoliosis on physical appearance and the effects on their attractiveness to the opposite sex. Teenagers confronted with the prospect of wearing a brace will worry about the possibility of restrictions on activities, social stigma and discomfort.

How do most girls make themselves feel comfortable in participating in an activity (PE, swimming, prom) that makes their deformity obvious?

Dr. Cantor: Developing a positive self-image is the key to being comfortable in a variety of life situations. In a society obsessed with beauty where we are constantly bombarded with images of the "ideal," people who deviate significantly from that "ideal" are confronted with even greater challenges in developing a positive self-image. The process in developing a positive self-image is not really different, however, for those with an obvious physical condition that affects appearance or function than it is for the rest of the human race. Everyone struggles at some level with his or her self-image. Fashion models who supposedly personify society's ideal of beauty often question their physical attractiveness. If secure regarding their appearance, they probably feel insecure about other aspects of themselves such as their intellectual abilities. Beauty truly is not simply skin-deep. It is not easy for any of us to develop a positive self-image, but this is the key to coping with many of the challenges confronting us in life, including living with scoliosis.
Taking the initiative to educate peers about scoliosis will help make others more comfortable and accepting of the teenager with scoliosis. There will always be some peers who are rejecting and make rude comments despite being educated about scoliosis. Remember that the ones who tease others the most are the ones who are most insecure themselves. Having a strategy for dealing with comments or looks from others will be helpful. Ignoring is always one option, but these situations may be ideal opportunities for educating others. Responding with unexpected comments to teasing is another option, e.g., complimenting the person, making a joke, agreeing with the person.

What advice do you have for someone who is resistant to the idea of wearing a brace to school? What are some possible strategies for improving compliance with brace wear?

Dr. Cantor: Teenagers, like adults, may sometimes have trouble appreciating the long-term implications of choices they make about their health care. Offering external incentives to them for initially trying the brace may be a helpful strategy. If the brace does not have to be worn full time, setting up schedules for wearing the brace at times that are least disruptive to their lives will also improve compliance. Helping them learn to deal with the social stigma of wearing a brace will go a long way towards increasing compliance. Some teenagers prefer to wear their clothes over a brace and choose clothes that make the brace less obvious.

How can parents help their teenager cope with a physical deformity?

Dr. Cantor: As with any problem their child might face, parents can first help by listening. Listening means trying to truly understand how your child feels before attempting to solve the problem or to give advice. Don't tell your child how he or she should feel. How you would feel is not necessarily how your child feels. Accept your teenager's feelings and communicate that you understand.

Nancy L. Cantor, Ph.D.

Primary Children's Medical Center
100 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113

Pulmonary function in children with idiopathic scoliosis

Abstract (provisional)

Idiopathic scoliosis, a common disorder of lateral displacement and rotation of vertebral bodies during periods of rapid somatic growth, has many effects on respiratory function. Scoliosis results in a restrictive lung disease with a multifactorial decrease in lung volumes, displaces the intrathoracic organs, impedes on the movement of ribs and affects the mechanics of the respiratory muscles. Scoliosis decreases the chest wall as well as the lung compliance and results in increased work of breathing at rest, during exercise and sleep. Pulmonary hypertension and respiratory failure may develop in severe disease. In this review the epidemiological and anatomical aspects of idiopathic scoliosis are noted, the pathophysiology and effects of idiopathic scoliosis on respiratory function are described, the pulmonary function testing including lung volumes, respiratory flow rates and airway resistance, chest wall movements, regional ventilation and perfusion, blood gases, response to exercise and sleep studies are presented. Preoperative pulmonary function testing required, as well as the effects of various surgical approaches on respiratory function are also discussed.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.