The Effect of Dexlansoprazole MR on Nocturnal Heartburn and GERD-Related Sleep Disturbances in Patients With Symptomatic GERD.


OBJECTIVES:

 

Nocturnal heartburn and related sleep disturbances are common among patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This study evaluated the efficacy of dexlansoprazole MR 30mg in relieving nocturnal heartburn and GERD-related sleep disturbances, improving work productivity, and decreasing nocturnal symptom severity in patients with symptomatic GERD.

METHODS:

 

Patients (N=305) with frequent, moderate-to-very severe nocturnal heartburn and associated sleep disturbances were randomized 1:1 in a double-blind fashion to receive dexlansoprazole MR or placebo once daily for 4 weeks. The primary end point was the percentage of nights without heartburn. Secondary end points were the percentage of patients with relief of nocturnal heartburn and of GERD-related sleep disturbances over the last 7 days of treatment. At baseline and week 4/final visit, patients completed questionnaires that assessed sleep quality, work productivity, and the severity and impact of nocturnal GERD symptoms.

RESULTS:

 

Dexlansoprazole MR 30mg (n=152) was superior to placebo (n=153) in median percentage of nights without heartburn (73.1 vs. 35.7%, respectively; P<0.001). Dexlansoprazole MR was significantly better than placebo in percentage of patients with relief of nocturnal heartburn and GERD-related sleep disturbances (47.5 vs. 19.6%, 69.7 vs. 47.9%, respectively; P<0.001), and led to significantly greater improvements in sleep quality and work productivity and decreased nocturnal symptom severity. Adverse events were similar across treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

 

In patients with symptomatic GERD, dexlansoprazole MR 30mg is significantly more efficacious than placebo in providing relief from nocturnal heartburn, in reducing GERD-related sleep disturbances and the consequent impairments in work productivity, and in improving sleep quality/quality of life.

DISCUSSION

Dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg daily was significantly better than placebo in improving symptoms of nocturnal heartburn in symptomatic GERD patients with frequent, moderate-to-very severe nocturnal heartburn leading to improved sleep quality, and decreased symptom severity and impact on morning activities. Dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg was also effective in increasing work productivity and reducing activity impairment. It should be noted that patients enrolled in this study had to be responsive to acid-suppression therapy. This inclusion criterion was used to limit the number of functional heartburn patients enrolled in the study.

During this study, the median percentage of nights without heartburn over 4 weeks for the intent-to-treat patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg was 73.1%. In a previous dexlansoprazole MR phase 3 study, which assessed efficacy and safety among patients with non-erosive reflux disease, this value was 80.8%(vs. 51.7% for placebo; P<0.00001) (23), supporting the results of our study. Furthermore, the therapeutic gain, or the difference between active study drug and placebo, seen in this current nocturnal heartburn study was greater than that observed in a previous phase 3 symptomatic GERD trial (37 vs. 29%) (23).

Stratification of the primary end point by baseline mean nocturnal symptom severity reveals that patients with the most severe symptoms experience the greatest therapeutic gain. Although the median percentage of nights free of nocturnal heartburn declined with increasing baseline severity, the therapeutic gain increased. The therapeutic gain experienced by patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR with severe-to-very severe baseline nocturnal symptoms is more than twice that experienced by patients with mild-to-moderate or moderate-to-severe baseline nocturnal symptoms. Patients in the severe-to-very severe group who received placebo experienced a median of 0% heartburn-free nights, while the 34 patients in the dexlansoprazole MR group reported a median of 66%of their nights as heartburn free during the 4 weeks of the trial. This could be explained by the finding that patients with more severe non-erosive reflux disease (NERD; as determined by pH testing) are more responsive to PPI therapy than patients with less severe NERD (24). This is in contrast to the response of erosive esophagitis patients receiving anti-reflux treatment (25).

During the last 7 days of the study, 48 and 70% of patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR reported relief of nocturnal heartburn and GERD-related sleep disturbances, respectively, which were significantly greater than with placebo (P<0.001 for each comparison). A similar pattern was observed by Johnson et al.(26), where patients receiving esomeprazole, 20 or 40 mg, reported higher rates of relief from GERD-related sleep disturbances from nocturnal heartburn during the last 7 days of a 4-week study.

A significantly lower frequency of GERD-related sleep disturbances was observed in the dexlansoprazole MR group. Dexlansoprazole MR resulted in a significantly lower frequency of the different types of sleep disturbances attributed to nocturnal heartburn. Of note, the percentage of nights with sleep disturbances due to other causes did not differ significantly between treatment groups. Taken together, these results suggest that patients taking dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg can expect a reduction in or relief from nocturnal heartburn symptoms and therefore better sleep quality.

Recording daily symptoms via diaries is common in clinical trials where symptom relief is a primary outcome (27). However, the limitations of this approach, particularly with paper diaries, include non-adherence (skipping entries) and “hoarding” (the retrospective completion of entries), which can lead to recall errors (28,29). Objective analyses of paper diary use have shown high rates of both non-adherence and hoarding (29). Electronic diaries, such as those used during this study, do not allow for hoarding beyond 24 h before the scheduled entry. Compliance with diary entries was high: ≥90% in 87% of patients.

The efficacy of dexlansoprazole MR for the relief of nocturnal heartburn and relief from GERD-related sleep disturbances is further supported by the improvements seen in the patient-reported outcomes. Patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR reported significantly greater improvements from baseline in sleep quality compared with placebo, which manifested as greater decreases in PSQI scores. Decreases in overall and subscale N-GSSIQ scores also showed greater efficacy for dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg compared with placebo in decreasing symptom severity, next morning impact of nocturnal symptoms, and concern regarding nocturnal GERD among the patients, thus demonstrating improvements in HRQoL. Significant improvements in HRQoL due to treatment of heartburn, both daytime and nocturnal, have been documented previously (23,26,30,31).

Accompanying these improvements in sleep quality, decreased symptom severity, and reduced impact the following morning were decreases in impairments in work productivity, as demonstrated by decreases in the WPAI scores. Treatment with dexlansoprazole MR was more effective than placebo in decreasing impairment while working and improving overall work productivity and functionality during regular activities. Furthermore, this treatment was more effective in reducing the number of work hours missed due to GERD-related sleep disturbances. These results are not unexpected when one considers the connection between repeated lack of sleep during the night and daytime sleepiness (9), as well as reduced HRQoL and work productivity (11). The negative impact of nocturnal GERD on HRQoL and work productivity is well recognized (7,8,10).

A recent survey of over 600 GERD patients on various PPI therapies found that the majority of patients continued to experience heartburn, with 83% experiencing nocturnal symptoms and almost a quarter of these patients reporting severe or very severe nocturnal symptoms (32). Daily dosing of dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg may reduce the likelihood of persistent nocturnal symptoms due to its extended duration of plasma drug levels (33); however, additional studies are needed to determine if this property equates to improved clinical outcomes.

In the above-mentioned survey (32), only approximately one-half of the patients surveyed took their PPI within the recommended 1 h to 30 min before breakfast. Poor compliance with PPI therapy is likely the most common cause for PPI failure (25). In this study, patients were to take the study drug in the morning, without regard to food. Comparable acid suppression with dexlansoprazole MR dosing has been demonstrated regardless of the timing of food intake (fasting, before or after breakfast) (34) or the time of day (before breakfast, lunch, dinner, or evening snack) (35). Although additional studies are needed to assess the impact of various dosing timings of dexlansoprazole MR on GERD symptoms, it is not unreasonable to suggest that increased flexibility in administration, and therefore increased compliance, would lead to reduced symptoms, particularly at night.

Dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg was well tolerated by patients in this current trial. Rates of treatment-emergent AEs were low and similar between the dexlansoprazole MR and placebo groups, including the premature discontinuation due to AEs. Recent analyses of pooled safety data from the phase 3 pivotal trials demonstrated that the safety profile of dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg was comparable to that of lansoprazole 30 mg (36).

The economic implications of this study are readily apparent. The favorable effect of improvement for work productivity has significant implications to payers and employers. For the patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR compared with placebo, there was an apparent work productivity advantage—$38 for the fourth week ($227 vs. $189). If these savings were extrapolated over the 4-week study, the advantage would be $152/treated patient. This type of modeling allows for the development of a business plan for payers–employers to evaluate the cost benefits of effective therapy. By this type of analysis, the “investment” cost of therapy can be analyzed against the returns of improved work productivity.

This study has several limitations, the first being the lack of an active comparator, another PPI. Although direct comparisons of efficacy results from different trials cannot be made, a recent review comparing the efficacy of various PPIs (not including dexlansoprazole MR) in relieving or resolving nocturnal heartburn in a clinical trial setting found no outstanding differences in efficacy between comparable doses (37). Placebo has been the standard comparator used in other studies assessing the efficacy of a PPI for nocturnal heartburn and in all studies of GERD-related sleep disturbances (23,26,38).

A second limitation is the lack of pH monitoring to document the level of acid suppression or to distinguish symptomatic non-erosive reflux from functional heartburn. It is difficult to attribute any symptom to reflux without direct esophageal monitoring. The primary reason for no pH monitoring during this study was the potential sleep disruption caused by an intra-esophageal pH electrode. However, to mitigate lack of pH monitoring, inclusion criteria mandated previous response to acid-suppression therapy. We also did not utilize sleep labs for an objective assessment of sleep quality, which could be considered another limitation. Because a sleep lab is an artificial environment, it is likely that many patients would not have slept the same way there as they would at home. Changes in sleep quality are subjective, whether as reported in the daily diaries or in the PSQI and N-GSSIQ.

A third limitation is the assessment of response for productivity analysis limited to the fourth week of therapy. Questions remain as to what the effect is on a weekly basis beyond the early therapy effect on these particular measurements. Furthermore, an area of further research is to evaluate whether these favorable effects persist, wane, or continue to improve with extended therapy.

In summary, dexlansoprazole MR 30 mg was significantly more efficacious in providing relief from nocturnal heartburn and in reducing GERD-related sleep disturbances compared with placebo in symptomatic GERD patients with moderate-to-very severe nocturnal heartburn. This study also demonstrated significantly greater improvements in sleep quality, HRQoL, and work productivity for patients receiving dexlansoprazole MR compared with those receiving placebo.

Furthermore, there were notable economic implications with favorable advantages evident for patients treated with dexlansoprazole MR—allowing for estimates of a calculable rate of return on investment for effective therapy.

Source: Nature/AJG

 

Exercise Could Hold Key to Successful Cancer and Mental Health Treatment.


prevent-cancer

Mounting evidence continues to show that exercise may be a key component in successful cancer prevention and treatment. Studies have also found that it can help keep cancer from recurring, so it’s really a triple-win.

Yet not surprisingly few oncologists ever tell their patients to engage in exercise beyond their simple daily, normal activities, and many cancer patients are reluctant to exercise, or even discuss it with their oncologist. Hopefully, you will not be one of them.

Most recently, research announced at the 2013 International Liver Congress1found that mice who exercised on a motorized treadmill for an hour each day, five days a week for 32 weeks, experienced fewer incidents of liver cancer than sedentary mice.

Exercise may also be absolutely crucial in the treatment of depression, according to recent research.2 I’ve often stated this, and the science continues to support this advice.

Meanwhile, mounting evidence condemns the “evidence-based” drug paradigm, as reviews keep finding that large amounts of published drug research is either seriously flawed or outright fraudulent — motivated of course by the financial interests of the funding party.

Might Exercise Be a Key to Cancer Cure?

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a cancer that originates in your liver cells, and is one of the most common types of cancers. According to the featured article inMedical News Today,3 HCC accounts for just over five percent of all cancers worldwide, and causes an estimated 695,000 deaths annually.

According to the reported research,4 the first of its kind for this type of tumor, regular exercise may be the key to significantly reducing your chances for developing liver cancer.

The study involved two groups of mice: One group was fed a high fat diet, and then divided into two sub-groups — one that exercised and one that did not. The second group was fed a controlled diet, and also divided into sub-groups of exercise and non-exercise. According to the featured article:

“After 32 weeks of regular exercise, 71 percent of mice on the controlled diet developed tumors larger than 10mm versus 100 percent in the sedentary group. The mean number and volume of HCC tumors per liver was also reduced in the exercise group compared to the sedentary group.”

In the high-fat diet group, exercise decreased the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Professor Jean-Francois Dufour told Medical News Today:

“We know that modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose people to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer; however it’s been previously unknown whether regular exercise reduces the risk of developing HCC. This research is significant because it opens the door for further studies to prove that regular exercise can reduce the chance of people developing HCC.

The results could eventually lead to some very tangible benefits for people staring down the barrel of liver cancer and I look forward to seeing human studies in this important area in the future. The prognosis for liver cancer patients is often bleak as only a proportion of patients are suitable for potentially curative treatments so any kind of positive news in this arena is warmly welcomed.”

Exercise Needs to be Part of the New Standard of Care for Cancer

But the benefits of exercise are not limited to prevention alone. It can also help you recuperate faster and help prevent recurrence of cancer. A report issued by the British organization Macmillan Cancer Support5 just last year argues that exercise really should be part of standard cancer care. It recommends that all patients getting cancer treatment should be told to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two and a half hours every week, stating that the advice to rest and take it easy after treatment is an outdated view.

According to Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support:7

Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much of a benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the grueling ordeal of treatment all over again…”

Indeed, the reduction in risk for recurrence is quite impressive. For example, previous research has shown that breast and colon cancer patients who exercise regularly have half the recurrence rate than non-exercisers.8 Macmillan Cancer Support also notes that exercise can help you to mitigate some of the common side effects of conventional cancer treatment, including:

Reduce fatigue and improve your energy levels Manage stress, anxiety, low mood or depression Improve bone health
Improve heart health (some chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy can cause heart problems later in life) Build muscle strength, relieve pain and improve range of movement Maintain a healthy weight
Sleep better Improve your appetite Prevent constipation

Exercise Can Also Benefit Your Mental Health — Even When Forced

Many recent studies have shown that exercise provides a level of protection against stress-related disorders and depression. But could it still work if it was prescribed and forced upon you, by doctor’s orders, for example; or if part of a mandatory program, such as high school students or military, who are required to participate whether they like it or not?

To find out, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder devised an animal study to determine whether rats that were forced to exercise would experience the same stress- and anxiety-reduction as those who were free to choose if and when to exercise.

The rats exercised either voluntarily or forcibly for six weeks, after which they were exposed to a stressor. The following day, their anxiety levels were tested by measuring how long they froze when placed in an environment they’d been conditioned to fear. The longer the rats remained frozen, like “a deer in headlights,” the greater the residual anxiety from the previous day’s stressor. According to the lead author:9

“Regardless of whether the rats chose to run or were forced to run they were protected against stress and anxiety. The sedentary rats froze for longer periods of time than any of the active rats. The implications are that humans who perceive exercise as being forced — perhaps including those who feel like they have to exercise for health reasons — are maybe still going to get the benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and depression.”

Could 89 Percent of ‘Landmark’ Cancer Research Be Untruthful?

Findings such as the ones above, which demonstrate the significant benefits of lifestyle changes like exercise on your physical and mental health, become all the more important in light of mounting evidence showing that conventional drug treatment research has been sorely compromised by industry funding. As discussed in a recent GreenMedInfo article,10 the alleged “groundbreaking” results of nearly nine out of 10 cancer studies cannot be reproduced by any means!

“This means that to an extent, we have based our healthcare and clinical guidelines on fake studies that reported untruthful results in order to accommodate the interests of industrial corporations,” Eleni Roumeliotou writes.

“Cancer is a major killer in US. The American Cancer Society reports that in 2012, more than half a million Americans died from cancer, while more than 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed. Given the seriousness of these statistics and the necessity of evidence-based medicine, it would make sense to trust that honest, objective research is tirelessly trying to find the best cancer therapies out there.”

Alas, this trust in the scientific rigor of medical research appears to have been misplaced. First of all, nearly three-quarters of all retracted drug studies are due to falsification of data,11 meaning it’s not even a matter of misinterpretation of data; rather the data used to draw conclusions are pure fiction. Large numbers of patients can be affected when false findings are published, as the average lag time between publication of the study and the issuing of a retraction is 39 months. And that’s if it’s ever caught at all.

Last year, former drug company researcher Glenn Begley also showed that the vast majority of the “landmark” studies on cancer are unreliable — and a high proportion of those unreliable studies come from respectable university labs. Begley looked at 53 papers in the world’s top journals, and found that he and a team of scientists could NOT replicate 47 of the 53 published studies — all of which were considered important and valuable for the future of cancer treatments!

Part of the problem, they said, is that scientists often ignore negative findings in their results that might raise a warning. Instead, they opt for cherry-picking conclusions in an effort to put their research in a favorable light. The allegations appeared in the March 28 issue of the prestigious journal Nature.12

“It was shocking,” Begley said.13 “These are the studies the pharmaceutical industry relies on to identify new targets for drug development. But if you’re going to place a $1 million or $2 million or $5 million bet on an observation, you need to be sure it’s true. As we tried to reproduce these papers we became convinced you can’t take anything at face value.”

As if that’s not disturbing enough, Roumeliotou points out that Begley was not permitted to disclose which 53 cancer studies he evaluated and found to be without scientific merit. She writes:14

“…when they contacted the original authors and asked for details of the experiments, they had to sign an agreement that they would not disclose their findings or sources. This shows that the scientists, who published the tainted research, were all along, fully aware of the discrepancies of their articles and criminally conscious of the fact that they were misleading the medical and public opinion.”

Your Lifestyle has Tremendous Influence Over Your Health and Cancer Risk…

In light of the evidence supporting the notion that lifestyle changes, such as exercise, have a profound impact on human health and diseases of both mind and body, it would be foolish in the extreme to ignore such advice. Especially when you consider that the conventional drug paradigm is riddled with unreliable and outright fraudulent research — courtesy of the financial influence of the drug industry itself, which funds the vast majority of drug research.

Studies on exercise and other lifestyle changes however are less likely to be fraudulent simply because there’s no money to be made by coming to the conclusion that exercise may be helpful — unless it was funded by a gym franchise, perhaps…

Whether you’re trying to address your mental or physical health, I would strongly recommend you read up on my Peak Fitness program, which includes high-intensity exercises that can reduce your exercise time while actually increasing your benefits.

Now, if you have cancer or any other chronic disease, you will of course need to tailor your exercise routine to your individual circumstances, taking into account your fitness level and current health. Often, you will be able to take part in a regular exercise program — one that involves a variety of exercises like strength training, core-building, stretching, aerobic and anaerobic — with very little changes necessary. However, at times you may find you need to exercise at a lower intensity, or for shorter durations.

Always listen to your body and if you feel you need a break, take time to rest. But even exercising for just a few minutes a day is better than not exercising at all, and you’ll likely find that your stamina increases and you’re able to complete more challenging workouts with each passing day. In the event you are suffering from a very weakened immune system, you may want to exercise at home instead of visiting a public gym. But remember that exercise will ultimately help to boost your immune system, so it’s very important to continue with your program, even if you suffer from chronic illness or cancer.

Source: mercola.com

Can Faith in God Help Alleviate Depression?


faith

Story at-a-glance

  • Modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose you to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer. Recent research suggests that regular exercise reduces the risk of developing liver cancer
  • Previous research has shown that breast and colon cancer patients who exercise regularly have half the recurrence rate than non-exercisers, and the cumulative evidence strongly indicates that exercise really should be part of standard cancer care
  • Many recent studies have shown that exercise provides a level of protection against stress-related disorders and depression, and recent research demonstrates that these protective benefits are induced even if the exercise is forced as a mandatory part of a program, such as doctor’s orders, school curriculum or military service
  • Mounting evidence shows that our healthcare and clinical guidelines are based in large part on fraudulent studies that report untruthful results in order to accommodate the interests of corporations. In one review, scientists could NOT replicate 47 of the 53 published studies—all of which were considered important and valuable for the future of cancer treatments

 

Can faith in a higher power help you overcome mental illness, the most common of which is depression? To find out, researchers at McLean hospital, a psychiatric institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, asked 159 patients with prominent symptoms of depression how strongly they believed in a god.1

They also asked how credible the patients thought their treatment was, and how effective they believed it would be in relieving their symptoms. The patients’ symptoms were assessed when admitted, and again upon release from the program.

Of the participants, 71 percent reported believing in a god or a higher power to some extent. Those whose belief in a god was stronger, regardless of the god or religious affiliation (including non-affiliation), were twice as likely to respond well to the treatment and experiencing better outcomes, such as:

  • Lessening of depression
  • Reductions in self-harm
  • Increases in psychological well-being (peace of mind, ability to have fun, general satisfaction)

As reported by The Atlantic:2

“The researchers point out that people who believed in a god, or were affiliated with a religion, were also more likely to believe their psychiatric treatment was credible and to expect positive results.

It may be, they write, that ‘the tendency to have faith in conventional social constructs’ can be generalized both to religion and the medical establishment. Since other studies have shown that faith in a given treatment is an important predictor of its effectiveness, that could help explain the association with improved outcomes found here.”

The Stigma of Mental Illness Within the Church

The recent suicide of 27-year-old Matthew Warren,3 youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren, founder of the mega-church Saddleback Valley Community Church in California, brought mental illness back into view for many within the confines of religion.

NPR4 recently featured an interview with journalist and Evangelical Christian Christine Scheller on the sometimes complicated relationship between faith and mental illness. Scheller also lost her son to suicide five years ago.

While the stigma of mental illness does not cling to all denominations, some churches can tend to marginalize mental health problems and view them as issues that are best approached by reading the bible or praying.

In Scheller’s experience, the anti-psychiatry rhetoric used in some churches can delay much-needed treatment. When it became clear that Scheller’s younger son also suffered with depression, she decided to ignore the advice of the church, opting instead to seek professional help for her son.

“[S]tigma about mental illness is not unique to the evangelical community. We have our own particular ways in which it’s stigmatized, but it’s a pervasive problem,” she says.

Depressive Thinking Can Go Viral

In related research published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, researchers suggest that certain types of depressive thinking can “go viral,” spreading to others living in close proximity. As reported in Time Magazine:6

“Although many people see depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain, scientists say social context and the way you see yourself and the world can be critical in causing and sustaining the illness… ‘Thinking styles are a really important factor in risk for depression,’ says the study’s lead author Gerald Haeffel, associate professor of clinical psychology at Notre Dame University. ‘How one thinks about life stress and negative moods is one of the best predictors that we have of future depression.’”

The two thinking styles explored in the study were:

  • Rumination; constant brooding or worrying about what might go wrong
  • Hopelessness

Both of these thinking styles have previously been linked to depression. But whereas the first places your focus on your negative mood, the other reflects on your lack of self worth and the consequences of an event. Says lead researcher Haeffel:

“For example, a person who feels hopeless might lose a job and see it as a personal failure and a sign that he will never be employable again. A more resilient person might blame the economy or see the situation as an opportunity to get a better position.”

The latter, hopelessness, was not found to be contagious, but rumination was. A suggested reason for this is because hopelessness centers around your own thoughts and deeply embedded beliefs about yourself, and so therefore may be less likely to have a major influence on the way others think about themselves and their lives. Ruminating and constant brooding, however, which focuses on all the bad things that might happen and sees the worst in every situation, is a mode that is more easily spread and mirrored by others.

“Interestingly, depression symptoms themselves were not contagious: simply having a roommate with symptoms of the disorder did not increase risk of developing the mental illness. But those who picked up a ruminative style of thinking from their roommates during the first three months of school had more than double the number of depressive symptoms of those who either weren’t exposed to this perspective or didn’t adopt the rumination three months later. And the risk was magnified if they experienced high levels of stress,” Time reports.

Positive Thinking Is Contagious Too!

Fortunately, the study also found that healthier modes of thinking were equally contagious, with the capacity to make a roommate adopt a more optimistic outlook as well. More than likely, you didn’t need a study to take notice of this. Most people will at some point or another have encountered someone in their life that either made you feel more positive or negative, simply by spending time with them.

A question they could not answer, however, was what the determining factor was that decided which roommate would adopt a thinking style more closely mirroring that of the other. Why are some people’s thinking styles more likely to dominate, rather than be influenced?

“Such information could enhance the current findings and contribute to new ways of treating and preventing depression,”Time writes. “The results suggest that depressive thinking styles can still be influenced during young adulthood — so this risk factor can be minimized even if it has already developed during high school or earlier. Targeting ruminative thinking might also enhance therapy.

“The therapist could assess if people in the patient’s life are modeling and providing adaptive cognitive feedback about stress and negative life events,” says Haeffel. “The therapist could then provide those with negative thinking styles with information about the contagion effect along with training that would help them identify negative thought patterns and provide examples of more adaptive ways of thinking.”

The Slow Opening Up to ‘Spiritual Science’

In 1993, only three of the United States’ 125 medical schools offered any sort of course work exploring the area of spirituality and medicine. Today, over 90 of these medical schools have formal courses where they explore randomized controlled studies and the effects of spiritual practices on longevity and health outcomes—a sure sign that what was once considered taboo is beginning to receive the discussion and serious investigation it deserves. Dr. Larry Dossey has written 11 books primarily focused on consciousness, spirituality, and the impact of spirituality on your health, including the book Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine.

“I think we’re opening up,” Dossey said when I interviewed him, three years ago. “I’m sure you remember, about 40 years ago when meditation burst upon the scene in medicine, it was put down. It was called California Woo woo. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with it. But now nobody raises an eye about meditation and yoga, even in medicine. We’re in the same place with spirituality that we were with meditation about 20 years ago. People know you can’t ignore it. The correlation between spiritual practice and health outcomes is just too strong.

For example, the data shows that people who follow some sort of spiritual path in their life live on average seven to 13 years longer than people who do not follow a spiritual practice… We have a huge spectrum of data that shows, I think compellingly, that your thoughts really matter when it comes to getting well.”

Most ancient cultures knew this, and there are few lines dividing spirituality; the mind, and medicine in these cultures. Ironically, modern science now allows us to rediscover these ancient truths, which fell by the wayside with the advent of medical science and its narrow focus on individual parts as opposed to investigating the connections within the whole. Going back to where we started, David Rosmarin, the lead researcher of the featured study in which those with a stronger faith in God experienced far better treatment outcomes for their depression, said:

“Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States — more than 90 percent of the population — these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life. I hope that this work will lead to larger studies and increased funding in order to help as many people as possible.”

The Rise of Energy Psychology

Many people avoid energy psychology as they believe it is an alternative form of New Age spirituality, yet nothing could be further from the truth. It is merely an advanced tool that can effectively address some of the psychological short circuiting that occurs in emotional illnesses. It is not any competition at all with any religion but merely an effective resource you can use with whatever spiritual belief you have.

My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is the largest and most popular version of energy psychology.

EFT was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering graduate specializing in healing and self-improvement. It’s akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates different energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations. This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist.7By doing so, you help your body eliminate emotional “scarring” and reprogram the way your body responds to emotional stressors.

While the following video will teach you how to do EFT, it is VERY important to realize that self-treatment for serious mental health issues is NOT recommended. For serious or complex issues, you need someone to guide you through the process as there is an incredible art to this process and it typically takes years of training to develop the skill to tap on deep-seated, significant issues.

Research Backs the Use of EFT for Depression

I have been a fan of energy psychology for many years, having witnessed its effectiveness in my medical practice and in my own personal life. However, studies have been few and far between as science has been trying to “catch up” with clinical experience. That has finally started to change. Several studies have been published in the last few years, showing just how safe and effective EFT really is.

For example, the following three studies show remarkable progress in a very short amount of time for people with a history of trauma:

  1. A 2009 study8 of 16 institutionalized adolescent boys with histories of physical or psychological abuse showed substantially decreased intensity of traumatic memories after just ONE session of EFT.
  2. An EFT study9 involving 30 moderately to severely depressed college students was conducted. The depressed students were given four 90-minute EFT sessions. Students who received EFT showed significantly less depression than the control group when evaluated three weeks later.
  3. In a study of 100 veterans with severe PTSD10 (Iraq Vets Stress Project),11 after just six one-hour EFT sessions, 90 percent of the veterans had such a reduction in symptoms that they no longer met the clinical criteria for PTSD; 60 percent no longer met PTSD criteria after only three EFT sessions. At the three-month follow-up, the gains remained stable, suggesting lasting and potentially permanent resolution of the problem.

Source: .mercola.com

 

Don’t Pick Your Nose: Never Mind, Boogers May Be Good for You.


nose-pick

if you catch your child with a finger up his nose, you probably discourage it. But could the “bad” childhood habit of picking your nose and eating it, actually be goodfor you?

A biochemist from the University of Saskatchewan has theorized that nasal mucus, or as it’s more commonly known, boogers, has a sugary taste that’s meant to entice you to want to eat it.

Doing this, he believes, may help introduce pathogens from your environment to your immune system, resulting in the building up of natural defenses.

Other experts believe this theory, which has yet to be tested, doesn’t necessarily hold water because you swallow nasal secretions every day, including while you sleep, even if you don’t eat your boogers.

Still, there’s a tendency in our modern culture to be obsessive about cleanliness, especially in children, and it could be that scolding kids for this “dirty” habit may actually be counterproductive.

Not All Germs are Bad Germs

A child raised in an environment devoid of dirt and germs, and who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the bacteria in his gut, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life.

This theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, is likely one reason why many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades. Why does you immune system need “dirt” and germs to stay healthy?

Your immune system is composed of two main groups that work together to protect you. One part of your immune system deploys specialized white blood cells, called Th1 lymphocytes, that direct an assault on infected cells throughout your body.

The other major part of your immune system attacks intruders even earlier. It produces antibodies that try to block dangerous microbes from invading your body’s cells in the first place. This latter strategy uses a different variety of white blood cells, called Th2 lymphocytes. The Th2 system also happens to drive allergic responses to foreign organisms.

Dirt May Help Your Immune System Grow Stronger

At birth, an infant’s immune system appears to rely primarily on the Th2 system, while waiting for the Th1 system to grow stronger. But the hygiene hypothesis suggests that the Th1 system can grow stronger only if it gets “exercise,” either through fighting infections or through encounters with certain harmless microbes.

Without such stimulation, the Th2 system flourishes and the immune system tends to react with allergic responses more easily.

In other words, the hygiene hypothesis posits that children and adults not being exposed to viruses and other environmental factors like dirt, germs and parasites results in their not being able to build up resistance, which makes them more vulnerable to illnesses.

Allergies, Heart Disease and Even Depression Linked to Being ‘Too Clean’

If you’re healthy, exposure to bacteria and viruses may serve as “natural vaccines” that strengthen your immune system and provide long-lasting immunity against disease. If you don’t get this healthy exposure to germs in your environment, it may end up making you sick. Health problems already associated with the hygiene hypothesis include:

  • Allergies1
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Heart disease, with one study finding that early exposure to viral infections during childhood could reduce the risk of heart disease later in life by up to 90 percent2

Even depression has been connected to early exposure to pathogens, via an inflammatory connection.3 Neuroscientist Charles Raison, MD, who led the study, said:4

“Since ancient times benign microorganisms, sometimes referred to as ‘old friends,’ have taught your immune system how to tolerate other harmless microorganisms, and in the process, reduce inflammatory responses that have been linked to the development of most modern illnesses, from cancer to depression.”

Your Immune System Dictates Whether or Not You Get Sick

If you’re looking for even further evidence that booger-eating may not be so bad after all, consider that it is the state of your immune system that determines whether or not you get sick when you’re exposed to a germ. In one study, when 17 people were infected with a flu virus, only half of them got sick.5

The researchers found changes in blood took place 36 hours before flu symptoms showed up, and everyone had an immune response, regardless of whether or not they felt sick. But the immune responses were quite different …

In symptomatic participants, the immune response included antiviral and inflammatory responses that may be related to virus-induced oxidative stress. But in the non-symptomatic participants, these responses were tightly regulated. The asymptomatic group also had elevated expression of genes that function in antioxidant responses and cell-mediated responses. Researchers noted:

“Exposure to influenza viruses is necessary, but not sufficient, for healthy human hosts to develop symptomatic illness. The host response [emphasis added] is an important determinant of disease progression.”

The bottom line? If exposure to the bacteria in your boogers can indeed help your immune system to grow stronger, then a case could be made for their consumption (or at least, for not scolding your little ones if you find them with a finger up their nose). Of course, you can get healthful germ exposures other ways, too …

How to Avoid Being Overly Hygienic

If the hygiene hypothesis is true, and there’s mounting research that it is, trying to keep your environment overly sterile could backfire big time and actually increase your risk of acute and chronic diseases. You can avoid being “too clean,” and in turn help bolster your body’s natural immune responses, by:

  • Letting your child get dirty. Allow your kids to play outside and get dirty (and realize that if your kid eats boogers, it isn’t the end of the world).
  • Not using antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial household products, which wipe out the microorganisms that your body needs to be exposed to for developing and maintaining proper immune function. Simple soap and water are all you need when washing your hands. The antibacterial chemicals (typically triclosan) are quite toxic and have even been found to promote the growth of resistant bacteria.
  • Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics. Remember that viral infections are impervious to antibiotics, as antibiotics only work on bacterial infections.
  • Serving locally grown or organic meats that do not contain antibiotics.
  • Educating yourself on the differences between natural and artificial immunity, and making informed decisions about the use of vaccinations.

Source: mercola.com

Does meme count as culture?.


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The ubiquitous internet meme comes in many forms — from iterations on top of iterations of a viral video to a random picture of a cute animals with an ironic white Impact caption. They also seem to proliferate like one of those animals with an ironic white Impact caption, if you know what I mean.

The internet meme often gets a bad rap. It gets called a waste of time, a waste of energy, and a waste of brain bandwidth.. really just more noise in an already cacophonous environment. But is this really true? Is meme only a waste of time or is there significantly more to the humble internet meme?

A case for meme

“Culture” is defined as “the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties, especially by education.” Culture varies significantly across the world, just as significantly as the moral and intellectual faculties between people vary, and grows strong in places that foster education between people of like-mind and similar values.

By this definition, the internet is becoming its own global culture. There are (of course) differences, but in essence, the internet is allowing people to come together and develop their intellectual (consider communities like Quoratopic-based communities, etc) and moral (consider the group Anonymous or the internationally-adopted web blackout in protest of the US SOPA bill) faculties. It is difficult to associate any major internet movement with a particular people or existing unique culture. The internet and the spread of cultural artifacts through its many channels are as diverse as all the people in the world — and through this diversity there is unity forming around similar values (freedom, democracy and expression).

Meme, by definition, is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Meme is not necessarily specific to the internet — it simply became a household name through the Cheezburger Network. We could define many important cultural evolutions as “meme,” such as 3D imaging in modern film or technology in the classroom. These — now commonplace —  ideas have spread from person to person inside of a unique culture.

I propose that internet meme is the currency of a blooming global culture. Internet meme can, and does, educate morality (consider the macings at UC Davis and the massive adoption that meme saw) as well as intellectual pursuits (consider the Advice Mallard), and while there is a ton of crap in the world of internet meme, the same can be said for most more traditionally accepted cultural mediums (has anyone seen this Nic Cage film?!).

The internet is irrevocably changing the way we interact with traditional media that define what “culture” is for us. What is art in this new environment? Do you have to be a classically-trained musician to create culturally-significant music?  How iscinemafood, and literature changing due to advances in internet technology? What ultimately count as legitimate “cultural” artifacts and what doesn’t?

While the internet is creating its own culture in cyber space, there is invariably spill over to the real world. People reference internet memes in casual conversation around dinner, share meme experiences with friends and loved ones, and use meme as illustrations of concepts among their peers. They use meme to make points in arguments, to create conversations, to shame, to uplift, and to showcase triumphs and defeats. This, to me, bears greater cultural significance than simple entertainment on the interwebs™. Internet meme is most assuredly spreading ideas, behaviors, and styles between people — locally and virtually.

Source: http://blog.scoop.it

 

 

The Internet: A Superhighway of Paranormal Hoaxes and Fakelore.


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It’s been a hot time for hoaxing thanks to the Internet. With Photoshop, citizen journalism sites, YouTube, and postboards for the latest photo leaks, it is way too easy to send a lie half way around the world before the truth can pull its shoes on.

In this post, I wrote about a busy week in paranormal-themed news. In chatting with a correspondent — Jeb Card, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department of Miami University — over a shared interest in the state of the paranormal today or “occulture,” we got to talking about the state of hoaxing.

Make no mistake, hoaxing has always been around. Hoaxers have been trying to fool people by displaying their special skills (scams) or stupendous stories since the beginning of civilization, I think. But there is a particular history of hoaxing in occulture. Lately, it has gotten more frequent (or we sure notice it more), more absurd (to outdo the last one) and more involved (because the payout can be big while the scrutiny greater).

There are many famous hoaxes from this scene. It’s hard to say if it’s more common now than in the past. Some of the hoaxes, notes Jeb, have been very influential in the creation of popular folklore. Big ones have defined UFOlogyRoswell and the Men in Black. Not everyone would conclude these are deliberate hoaxes — there is a grain of truth to them — but they went way out of control and now there are hoaxed videos, documents and tales based on these events that never happened the way the lore says it did. Stories like that, which have taken on a life of their own as if they were true, are called “fakelore.”

The Bigfoot field is trampled over with fake footprints, stories, casts, photos and videos. It can’t be denied that the majority of Bigfoot stories are unbelievable, without supporting evidence, or obvious hoaxes. Every new bit of Bigfoot “evidence” these days makes us roll our eyes and say “SERIOUSLY!?” This reputation is damaging to those who truly believe something is out there to be found. The credibility of Bigfoot researchers scrapes the bottom of the barrel. The history of hoaxes colors this topic deeply when we realize that the seminal story of “Bigfoot,” Ray Wallace’s trackway, was revealed to be a hoax.

Actually, the same can be said for the Loch Ness Monster. The iconic Nessie photo — the long-neck arching out of the rippling water — was hoaxed.

A longtime follower of the occulture fields, Jeb says he can’t think of a time when these communities weren’t awash with simultaneous and multiple hoax accusations. Today, I post some of the latest ridiculous news stories on Doubtful News, but some are too intelligence-insulting to even mention. I can’t waste time on them. The Internet rewards even cheap hoaxes with website hits from the curious. Many sites gain popularity doing just this, collecting the latest mystery tomfoolery and telling you to decide for yourself.

Hoaxes of old lasted a very long time. If the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film is a hoax (as several have espoused), then it’s one of the best because people are STILL fighting about it 46 years later! The Surgeon’s photo mentioned above lasted almost 70 years. The Wallace wooden footprint maker wasn’t revealed widely until he died. The Majestic UFO documents are still believed by many to be genuine as we saw it come up in the recentCitizens Hearing on Disclosure.

Even when the real story is exposed, the fakelore lingers, with adherents still clinging to belief. A modern monster, birthed by the Internet that continues to live despite being utterly demolished is the chupacabra, the alleged goatsucker, a monster from Latin America. Ben Radford‘s book Tracking the Chupacabra was a clean takedown of this folklore and pop-culture-derived beast. But, the critter continually morphed its way into the global consciousness evolving as needed to serve as the scapegoat for whatever fear arose in the public’s mind.

Hoaxes today can be as low-budget as a guy in a ghillie suit walking through the woods at a distance filmed with a smart phone, to professional artists rendering impressive CGI special effects particularly with UFO hoaxes on YouTube. Really spectacular stuffToo spectacular to be real or the whole city would have noticed!

We also have the problem of marketing hoaxes for products, movies or TV shows, in particular. Some universities even ask students to hoax for a class project with the crowd-sourced grading as to how far it can go.

Today money can come out of hoaxing. There are pay-per-view outlets, special memberships sold, funding solicited for “studies,” merchandise and book sales that mean big bucks to those who can milk the public for a little while and steer clear of fraud charges. Also, with an online community of people who share a belief in a questionable phenomena, there may be a misplaced sense of trust and hope. Those who are emotionally invested in the idea of Bigfoot, let’s say, will want to support a potentially groundbreaking new project that will prove to everyone they aren’t crazy in their quest.

Does the ease of the Internet give people incentive to hoax? That’s undeniable. People do it just to see how far they can get, how many YouTube views, what media outlets cover it. As Jeb says: “The Internet removes the gatekeepers, the filters between the potential hoaxer, and the mark. Your fake Bigfoot doesn’t need to be good enough to get on [the TV] news and then filter down. It just needs to be good enough that someone will share it.”

Jeb cites the TV show Ancient Aliens as an example of a successful brand that has captured public interest no matter HOW absurd the ideas presented. On “reality” TV shows, viewers lose perspective that they are watching an edited, at least partially scripted, entertainment device. It’s not actual scientific research.

The occulture scene gets decidedly more unhealthy as money, greed, quest for notoriety and lack of scruples allow the sensationalist speculation and outright hoaxers to keep right on fooling everyone, time and time again. There’s a sucker born every minute.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

 

 

 

5 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem.


self-esteem-baby

I hate the way I look” your child mutters turning away from the mirror in anger.

Or perhaps, “everyone is smarter than me” or “I’m no good at sports” or “I just can’t do anything right!”

The list goes on, and for children with low self-esteem, it’s a long one.

You try explaining to your child why they are wrong, you point out other people’s failings (after all, no one is perfect), you comfort them and help them find ways of improving, you even talk to their teachers… but nothing seems to help. Your child’s confidence is in the pits and you don’t know what else to do.

It’s a heart-breaking situation for any parent and an incredibly disempowering one for your child. Fortunately, it’s not an insurmountable one.

Because you see, self-esteem is about confidence, about being able to esteem or admire ourselves, and the problem is simply that your child doesn’t know how to do that.

When a child has low self-esteem:

– they are making incorrect assumptions and setting unrealistic expectations about themselves.

– they are unaware of their own abilities.

– they are inaccurately comparing themselves to others.

– they lack courage to be themselves.

– they feel disempowered.

Each of these is about your child not being able to accurately assess their skills, ability, intellect, or performance. And since nobody really teaches them how to do it, is it any surprise they are struggling?

Fortunately, this is something you can teach them.

And these 5 strategies can help.

1. Learn What you Can and Cannot Change

Our behaviors are things we can change, our identity we cannot. This is important to understand because it helps children separate the things that they do from the person they are.

It’s the difference between saying “I said something mean to someone” and “I am a mean person.”

A child may do something they are not proud of, but that is something they can change. It doesn’t mean that they are unworthy of admiration on the whole.

Here are some ways to practice separating behaviors from identity:

– when you hear your child speaking negatively about themselves, help them understand whether those feelings relate to a behavior or their identity.

– help your child identify ways of improving the behaviors they don’t like.

– point out positive behavior and celebrate the fact that your child made those choices.

– share instances when you or others are blurring this distinction and invite your child to break down the behaviors from the identity.

2. Know How to Measure your Awesomeness

We love comparing ourselves to others and using these comparisons to gauge our own awesomeness. Children do this to a fault and it’s devastating. The problem is that your child is completely different from any other person against whom they are measuring up, but they don’t realize that. Most think that “awesomeness” is a gradient scale with the cool kids on one end and them on the other.

What they need is a new way to evaluate themselves, one that has nothing to do with the other kids. To help you along, you can try this:

– help your child define their own personal notion of “awesomeness” or “success“

– teach them how to self-evaluate their progress and determine whether their personal expectations are being met.

3. Dream Big, Really Big

We want to protect our children when they have low self-esteem, so we try to manage their aspirations, setting low expectations so that they don’t loose the little confidence they already have. Ironically, this has the exact opposite effect (and worse, it can actually enhance your child’s low self-esteem). Why?

Because your child’s dreams and aspirations are the things they really, truly want for themselves, the things they are willing to fight for, the things they believe we deserve. And you want them to think they deserve the world, that they are worth it.

What you don’t want is for them to think they are incapable of reaching those dreams, that they have failed, because that only reinforces their notion that they are unworthy.

So, help your child set high aspirations: 

– help them identify what is important to them now (what they care about and why) and how they can.

– help them set realistic, but achievable expectations.

– teach them to build the courage to dream big.

4. Practice Empathy and Collaboration

Empathy is about understanding people who are different than us. Children with low self-esteem have a difficult time seeing their uniqueness as something of value. Empathy forces them to experience diversity, to see the uniqueness of others and realize that it’s ok to be different.

Collaboration is about working with others to create something new and meaningful. It teaches us that we all have something to contribute, and allows children to see that they have the power to impact others in real and important ways.

Some good ways to practice empathy and collaboration are:

– expose your child to different experiences and help them find words to describe how they feel.

– talk to your child about events happening around the world and how those events are impacting other people.

– help your child identify the feelings that other people might be experiencing and relate those to his or her own feelings.

– encourage your child to interact with people who are different than they are and then talk about what those differences add to the relationship.

5. Speak your Mind

Children with low self-esteem have a difficult time formulating their own opinions and speaking out. Unfortunately, this only reinforces their feelings of inadequacy, making it difficult for them to be true to themselves and what they believe. Worse, it makes them highly susceptible to being manipulated by others who are more confident or persuasive.

It is not easy for a child with low self-esteem to speak their mind, but it is also one of the most empowering things they can learn to do.

Here are some ideas to help you along:

– create an environment in your home that encourages individual opinions.

– have open and honest dialogue with your child about their (and your) concerns.

– as a family, show mutual respect for and a willingness to consider different points of view.

– give your child opportunities to speak their minds and hearts (even if you disagree).

– encourage your child to say the things they mean and mean the things they say.

– challenge your child on their opinions and invite them to do the same.

It is not easy raising a child with low self-esteem, but you can change your child’s life –> the next time you talk with them, listen to what they say about themselves. Start by helping them separate what relates to their behavior from what relates to their identity. By the end of the day, you’ll be well on your way to boosting their self-esteem.

 

Source: Purpose fairy

 

 

Providing Psychological Care in Syria: “Flashbacks, Nightmares, and Baby Clothes”.


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MSF135182-Audrey-Magis

 

Psychologist Audrey Magis recently returned home after spending two months working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Syria, where she set up and ran a mental health program in one of MSF’s projects in the north of the country. Magis, who had previously worked for MSF in Gaza, Libya, and in a camp for Syrian refugees, explains how the war has affected people and what MSF is doing to help.

In most places I have worked, people are rather hesitant when I tell them that I am a psychologist. But in Syria, it was quite the opposite. People actually came and told me they needed my services. The war has been raging for two years and people have completely lost their bearings. At first, they would come and tell me about their social problems at home. Children are not going to school and so become disruptive. Adults are not working. People are living in tents or ten-up crowded into one room. But when you dig a little, you quickly find that most have experienced deeply traumatic events. Some have lost friends or family. Some have seen their home destroyed. Some have lived through bombing raids . . .

Loss of Identity

People have lost their identity. Older men cannot find their place in society and in the family. They have lost their job or stopped being a fighter. Maybe they have responsibility for a family but they have had to move house several times in quick succession.

“I don’t have to find them; they come and ask for help . . .”

I don’t have to find them; they come and ask for help, saying things like, “I’m starting to be violent towards my wife and children. Please help me, I cannot be like that.”

I have seen many women who are finding it increasingly hard to form a bond with their children. There are few contraceptives available, and a lot of women are becoming pregnant without really wanting to. They struggle to imagine their future with their child. I met several women in the final term of pregnancy who had prepared nothing—no cot, no baby clothes, no ideas for a name. People have lost their ability to project their lives into the future.

All the children are playing at war. You don’t see them playing with cars or other normal games; they pretend to shoot each other. I’ve seen kids throwing stones at donkeys, hurting animals. This is their way of expressing the pent up anger. I have also seen young men in their 20s, ex-fighters who have come to me with complaints about depression, traumatic stress, flashbacks, nightmares . . .

Loss of Meaning

A number of people have quietly told me that they no longer know what the war is about. They are terrified at the idea that they are fighting their neighbors, their friends . . . and they don’t know why anymore. At first there seemed to be some purpose, but two years on, that’s all gone. They just want it all to end so they can go home.

“People have lost their ability to project their lives into the future.”

Things have gone way beyond the breaking point. People are on automatic pilot. But somehow they manage to hold it all together. They cannot allow themselves to fall apart. They have developed an amazing ability to cope and keep going. To survive two years living through this, it’s impressive. The family and community support is enormous.

Not Going Mad

Sometimes just one session is enough. Some people just need to hear that what’s happening to them is normal, that they are not going mad. But there are other patients who I had to work with for longer. The idea is to set a clear objective with them, and to get there step by step with behavioral therapy. There is no time for long analysis sessions, but you can do very sound psychological work with these short-form therapy techniques.

A Child Born of War

I remember one patient, a woman who was six months pregnant. She came to the hospital asking for a premature delivery. There was no medical reason; she just wanted us to do a C-section and deliver her baby as soon as possible. She was very jumpy, very agitated.

“A number of people have quietly told me that they no longer know what the war is about. They are terrified at the idea that they are fighting their neighbors, their friends… and they don’t know why anymore.”

I sat with her and we worked out that this was one baby too many, a child born of the war, and she felt that the baby was sapping all her energy. All she wanted to do was take anti-depressants, but she couldn’t because she was pregnant.

We worked out a plan of relaxation exercises. And we made a diary where she would write down when she felt tense and what had happened to cause the tension. And a few sessions later we moved on to preparing for the arrival of her baby.

At our last session she showed me the baby clothes for her soon-to-be-born baby. She hadn’t yet chosen a name, but she had made great strides and was ready. She was my last patient, my last session on my last day. I left the project with the sense that my time had been well spent.

Source: MSF newsletter

 

How to Listen to Your Inner Voice and Follow You Intuition.


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The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become. ~Gisele Bundchen

Listening and then following your intuition can be hard, but it is essential for living a happy and blissful live!

We live in a patriarchal/masculine society where we have decided to use logic over intuition, but clearly this hasn’t gotten us very far. The time of the feminine is here, and it is time to start listening and trusting our own intuition. I’m not saying to throw logic and reasoning out the door, but if you want to live a life of happiness and ease (better, more amazing life!) then you need to start with trusting your intuition.

I want to tell you my story and to hopefully inspire you to listen to your inner voice as well.

I studied accounting in college. I was never truly interested in being an accountant, but was told by people “you’ll make a lot of money”, “accounting is a secure and well paid job”, “you’ll be able to support yourself,” etc.

In the back of my mind, I knew accounting was not for me.  One thing I loved was traveling. So along came this amazing opportunity to do my masters over in the United Kingdom and play/coach lacrosse. How on earth was I going to convince my parents this is was ok? By telling them I’d go get a masters in finance, duh!

After an amazing year of living abroad and traveling around Europe, I was back in the same boat – unsure and confused about what to do with my life.  Looking back, I realize I wasn’t truly happy. I felt like something was always missing. I used partying and alcohol to fill the gap, not knowing there were other options.

Along came a job opportunity, unrelated to accounting/finance, but for a nutrition school. To me, this sounded amazing.  The salary was not great, but something was telling me not to pass down this opportunity. I took the job. That was the first time I really listened to my voice inside.

The job ended up getting me a scholarship to become a Health Coach. I fell in love with the holistic lifestyle. I had a job that allowed me to be myself, and do the things I loved.

My intuition then led me to complete a yoga teacher training, something I had thought and dreamed about for a while. I never would have taken the plunge into this teacher training without finally listening to what my inner voice was guiding me to do.

Intuition is the highest form of intelligence, transcending all individual abilities and skills.~Sylvia Clare

Here I am now, pursuing my passions of nutrition and yoga. I am a certified health coach, and yoga instructor. I am teaching yoga in NYC and coaching clients in health and wellness in person and on Skype! I absolutely love being able to help people by teaching them what I know and love. I am finally on my way to living the life of my dreams., and you could be too!

So… How do you do it?

Here are some tips to start tapping into your intuition:

1. Listen!

Start listening to yourself, and to the signs the universe is displaying all around you.

2. Live in the present moment

The past is in the past, and the future hasn’t come yet. Just focus on now, how are you feeling right now. Once you are able to live more in the present moment without worrying about the future and the past, you will be able to listen more closely!

3. Be mindful

Stop rushing through life. Everything you do should be done mindfully. This goes along with being present; you cannot do something mindfully, if you are not present.

4. Meditate

This is a scary one for some people! Just sit for a few minutes each day with yourself, with no distractions. Start to see what comes up in your mind, try to quiet your mind, and then see what comes up again. Meditation is a great way to really get to know your tru self

5. Be confident

Start to embrace who you truly are, your true inner self, and be confident in that person! That person is beautiful, smart, and powerful. Believe it!

I encourage you to start tapping into your inner voice, listening to what is inside. You will really start to figure out what your true passions are. When you know what they are, then use your logic and reasoning to figure out how to get there, and how to let you create the life of your dreams.

Source: Purpose fairy

 

Treating GERD Successfully: Beyond Heartburn Relief.


A short questionnaire helps identify whether patients on therapy for GERD are experiencing sleep disturbance and might benefit from an adjustment in therapy.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and sleep disturbance are highly prevalent conditions that occur together in many patients. Recent studies have demonstrated that effective treatment of GERD also ameliorates related sleep dysfunction. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been demonstrated to improve quality of life, work productivity, and driving acuity (Am J Gastroenterol 2011; 106:421). However, data have been limited to gastroenterology practice settings. In the current primary-care–based, industry-funded, cluster-randomized, open-label study, researchers evaluated the performance of a questionnaire in identifying sleep disturbance in patients being treated for GERD and, secondarily, the efficacy of esomeprazole in improving sleep disturbance.

From 180 primary care centers in Canada, 1388 patients were administered the PPI Acid Suppression Symptom (PASS) test, a validated questionnaire of five questions that identifies symptoms in patients on continuing acid-suppression therapy for GERD. One item regards sleep disturbance. Among the 825 patients who described sleep disturbance at baseline, 534 patients at 111 centers were randomized to switch from their current antisecretory therapy to once-daily esomeprazole (20 mg or 40 mg; intervention), and 291 patients at 69 centers were randomized to continue current therapy (control). At 4 weeks, 23% of patients in the intervention group versus 55% in the control group reported continued sleep disturbance (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.17–0.32). Mean improvements in quality-of-life scores and reflux symptom scores were higher in the intervention group than in the control group.

Comment: Primary care providers (and, I suspect, many gastroenterologists) need to better recognize the implications of inadequate gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment, including sleep disturbance, which in many patients will respond to a change in acid-suppressive therapy. Whether a formal questionnaire is necessary for screening versus pragmatic and attentive questioning probably depends on the provider. Defining successful treatment for GERD means setting appropriate endpoints beyond just heartburn relief.

 

Source: Journal Watch Gastroenterology