Insights on Residency Training

My Primary Care Manifesto

Scott Hippe, MD

“She is meant for more than just primary care,” mused an attending on my internal medicine rotation in medical school. He was referring to a particularly adept resident with whom we were working. This resident was planning on practicing clinic-based general internal medicine. I wasn’t sure why this attending disclosed his thoughts regarding this resident to me, but the implication was clear: “primary care” — whatever is meant by the term — is an easy career path, meant for the mediocre clinician.

The comment left me scratching my head, because the general internist who said it worked in the outpatient setting almost exclusively. Something about the outpatient care he provided was apparently different than “primary care.”

A year later, I matched in a family medicine residency. I chose the field not because I had low test scores (I didn’t), but because I couldn’t find a single area of medicine that wasn’t interesting to me. I didn’t want to give anything up. I was attracted by the never-ending challenges afforded a generalist who is willing to push the boundaries of his or her knowledge. Asking “how much can I do [before reaching my limits] in the care of my patient?” is more compelling to me than saying “I know nothing about this particular organ system; this patient needs to go see another specialist.”

Medical education fails trainees interested in primary care

I did my medical training in the Northwest U.S., where the attitude towards primary care is generally favorable. My medical school actively encouraged students to consider primary care fields. But it isn’t that way everywhere. Trainees are frequently told explicitly or implicitly that primary care specialties are second-rate. Family medicine is seen as a convenient fall-back option for students who didn’t ace Step 1. General internal medicine and general pediatrics are the fields for residents who don’t match in their perfect fellowship.

A handful of medical schools even lack a department of family medicine. You might recognize just a few of them on the list mentioned in this article.

Rewriting a paradigm

The attending I mentioned in this post envisioned primary care as stuffy noses and pap smears. The way I see primary care is different. For the docs out there who look down on primary care fields and medical trainees who have received inadequate exposure to generalist medicine, I want to share this paradigm with you.

Primary care is the entirety of care that I provide for my patients as their first provider. This is far more than those stuffy noses and paps. My specialty’s broad scope of training incorporates services such as comprehensive obstetrics including cesarean section, reproductive health, addiction medicine, inpatient medicine, emergency medicine, screening colonoscopy, treadmill stress testing, treating hepatitis C, and end-of-life care. My domain encompasses the clinic, hospital, emergency room, delivery room, and nursing home. And I still visit patients in their homes.

To the undifferentiated medical trainee: staying general in medicine begets a land of huge opportunity and variety.

Generalists, and more of them, please

Image result for primary care physician graph

We’ve all heard about how the US has the highest health costs of any country in the world.

It takes a specially trained eye to focus on the big picture, to treat the whole person, and to be effective in varied care settings. There are 36 countries in the world that deliver better and cheaper healthcare than the U.S. What do they have in common? A strong base of generalists. I am grateful for the well-trained specialists who help me at the limits of my abilities. But the U.S. cannot specialize its way out of its poor-performing and exceedingly expensive health system.

Our hyper-specialized, fee-for-service health system deters many physicians from becoming generalists. Every medical trainee doesn’t need to choose a primary care specialty. But we need more than are

Although a bit out of date, this figure highlights the dearth of GPs in the US.

choosing primary specialties now. I advocate against the notion that generalist medicine is inferior to specialist medicine (partialist medicine? for some humor). Primary care is more stimulating and requires more clinical acumen than many realize. Until our medical community changes the way it thinks about generalists, I don’t see our health system improving — whatever political or policy “fixes” might be on the way.


Top trends that will define digital health in 2019

Government health workers in Zambia uses data visualization software to track malaria transmission in real time so that his team can treat, prevent, and eliminate cases before they spread further. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.  

Zambian government health workers use real-time data updates from their region, and data visualization software, to track malaria cases and accelerate treatment and prevention.


PATH’s digital health team shares five trends that are likely to improve accessibility, affordability, and quality of health care for millions of people around the world.

Over the past decade, digital health has embedded itself in our daily lives. Wearables and smart devices keep track of everything from calories burned to heart rate to sleep cycles to stairs climbed, providing users a dashboard of data and insights about their health and well-being. Expert medical advice is no longer confined to a doctor’s office, as video consultations and messaging services connect people to medical professionals from the comfort of their own home.

But perhaps nowhere do developments in digital tools and services hold more promise to improve an individual’s health outcomes than in low-resource settings across Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere.

Here are five promising trends that PATH is optimistic will improve accessibility, affordability, and quality of treatment for millions of people around the world:

14750.jpeg A health care worker in Rwanda fills out paperwork. Photo: PATH/Doune Porter.

A healthcare worker in Rwanda works at the intersection of digital and paper records. PATH/Doune Porter.

  1. Health data privacy and security for all

People everywhere are calling for increased security to protect their personal data and for a greater understanding of the rights they have over this information. Because health information systems gather the most sensitive information about us, ensuring the privacy and security of these systems is vital. At the same time, researchers at universities and in the private sector rely on health data to inspire medical breakthroughs. As global health care systems undergo digital transformation, it is essential to get the balance between security and accessibility right.

In response, the global community is painting a more nuanced understanding of how anonymity, de-identification, and big data work together, and how consumers can benefit from digital health without feeling at risk. Inspired by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, governments such as Kenya are writing new laws and guidelines to clarify the rights of individuals over their digital data. And organizations, including Understanding Patient Data, are exploring how to make sure patients are fully informed about their digital rights, giving them greater power over their health data. This year, the global conversation about privacy and security will be codified into new guidelines for governments, technology developers, and health workers.

2. AI is a powerful tool for the next-gen health worker

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning open up powerful avenues for digitally enabled health care. For example, computerized learning systems can free up frontline health workers’ time by automating tasks like supply management. By tracking which medicines and supplies are available and where they are running low, these systems will streamline inventory management with computer precision, enabling health workers to spend more time directly with patients.

In addition, machine learning tools can assist in the detection of and response to potential disease outbreaks, allowing global systems to respond quickly to prevent epidemics. Applying machine learning could help reduce errors in contact tracing—a method used to find and monitor individuals potentially exposed to serious infectious diseases like malaria or Ebola. AI can also use health care data collected through routine visits to assess treatment options, helping health workers treat common health problems within their communities. We believe that 2019 will be a year when AI is unleashed on large data sets and machine learning is applied to diseases that disproportionately affect communities in low-resource environments.

3. Can we harness social media as a social good?

Billions of people connect through Facebook, WhatsApp, Weibo, and other social media platforms. But the impact of social media is both good and bad.

While these platforms grant unprecedented access to health information, it’s not always accurate, and in some cases it’s misleading. Researchers are also studying the role of social media consumption in exacerbating mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

But social media has proven it can advance health equity. For example, a new mother living in rural Kenya can message a Facebook chatbot to receive information on infant care, saving her half a day’s travel to the nearest health outpost. Adolescents can avoid social stigma by anonymously chatting online with providers about sexual and reproductive health information. Rural health workers can ask their colleagues for advice through WhatsApp, making it easier to manage difficult cases even when they’re hundreds of kilometers apart. And pilot programs, like the World Health Organization’s partnership with Google Fit, are exploring how personalized social media can be used to influence or “nudge” people toward healthy behaviors and choices.

Individuals need more resources to navigate information they’re relying on to make health choices. Governments, social media platforms, and civil society are all looking for new ways to promote good sources of information and rebuild trust in social networks. In 2019, the conversation about how we can make social media a social good will continue with a greater focus on truth and trust.

4. Digital systems and products will talk to each other

The next era of digital health won’t be defined by cutting-edge technologies—instead it will be defined by the seemingly simple connections that enable digital health tools to work together. This includes interoperable software that allows individual programs and tools to “talk” to each other and share information. Guided by global standards, developers and data scientists are ensuring that interoperable systems can equip health workers and global experts with a complete picture of health services and opportunities for improvement in individual communities and entire countries alike.

We believe 2019 will be a year of great consolidation in digital health. Digital systems that used to function independently, or as standalone products, are being integrated into a network of tools. Communities of practice like OpenHIE are bringing together software developers and health care practitioners to define how systems can exchange health information. Private-sector companies are being encouraged to adopt the same global standards used by open source software so that health information systems around the world can speak the same language. Active government participation in groups like the Health Data Collaborative is ensuring that new tools work together and meet country needs from day one. The connections between systems will bring greater connections between people, growing a strong, vibrant global digital health community.

5. The digital health revolution will truly go global

The right conditions and environment are crucial to harnessing the latest and greatest health innovation. Work on the broader country “enabling environment” is underway to strengthen the governance and thoughtful application of digital health tools. This includes boosting frontline health workers’ digital literacy as well as improving the capability of data analytics in global health. It is not enough to collect data. It must be translated into information that helps decision-makers and health workers do their jobs. What’s more, governments are creating policies, strategies, and investment plans that guide digital health at both the global and national levels.

Technology, policy, and health systems are aligning at the global level, drawing upon decades of insights and lessons to transform digital health worldwide. Underpinning this effort is a collaboration between PATH and the World Health Organization, which focuses on developing a global digital health strategy. This will enable investors, governments, and technology developers to rally behind a shared set of principles and approaches for digital health, opening up new cross-sector collaboration. Pieces of this puzzle that were once scattered across the globe are now being assembled into a picture of revolutionary digital health systems.

Is Your Life Crisis Really a Spiritual Calling in Disguise?









So many are alive who don’t seem to care. Casual, easy, they move in the world as though untouched. But you take pleasure in the faces of those who know they thirst. You cherish those who grip you for survival. You are not dead yet, it’s not too late to open your depths by plunging into them and drink in the life that reveals itself quietly there. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke’s Book of Hours)

In our journey towards “civilization” we’ve found more and more ways to numb and disconnect ourselves from Spirit. We live and work in gated communities, shopping centers, and office buildings, with air conditioned houses and cars, fences, landscapers, animal controllers, and we spend our leisure time immersed in complex and absorbing technological worlds.

In order to deal with our soul starvation, we drown ourselves in prescription medications, alcohol, recreational drugs, consumerism and other soul-numbing forms of escapism. We even suffocate ourselves in rigid belief systems that moralize and judge others, promising to alleviate our sense of alienation from life and existential turmoil.

But our souls are wiser than all of this. There comes a moment in our lives where we grow out of the collective values and ways of living common to our societies. At a certain point in our lives, we realize that the values, attitudes, relationships and beliefs we’ve held no longer contribute to the development of who we truly are: our authentic selves.

This life crisis, although painful, provides a vital opportunity for us to begin our spiritual journeys towards wholeness.

Quarter-Life, Middle-Life and Deathbed Crisis

In our Western soul-suppressing societies, many of us experience our “true callings” towards the spiritual journey throughout life, but most of us never truly “hear” or answer to them.

This spiritual calling presents itself in many ways throughout our lives such as the death of loved ones, suicidal depressions, illnesses, near-death experiences, divorce, and so forth. But there are three main milestones that call to us the most loudly.

The first calling is what we modernly refer to as the “quarter-life crisis.” The quarter-life crisis happens in the first quarter of life: generally after we finish high school or university. At this time in our lives, we intuitively know that we need to “find” ourselves by leaving behind our family, friends and hometowns. These people and places formed our juvenile identities as children and teenagers.

When I answered this calling, I remembered feeling intense fear and uncertainty. Saying goodbye to everyone and everything you love is a very hard task.

The second great calling presents itself as a “midlife crisis.” This crisis may come in the form of an affair, a divorce, severe job unhappiness, an empty nest, lifeless relationships, endless life dissatisfaction, or disappointment with the way life has gone. Ultimately, in my opinion, the midlife crisis comes at a moment where you’ve gathered enough wisdom to know that you’re not going to live forever.

Most people who experience midlife crises have spent their entire lives raising a family, or working in a career. They haven’t had the time, or capacity, to ask the important questions in life. Eventually, something triggers the question, “Is this all there is?

The third and final calling often comes as a deathbed crisis if we didn’t answer the previous two callings. The inevitability of an imminent death creates such immense turmoil and ego distress, that the light of consciousness is finally permitted to shine through us. Many hospice workers have confirmed this with me.

Although it’s better late than never, what a shame that so many people wait until their last moments to taste truth, deep insight and peace. Some never even experience it.

We all have to accept our imminent death someday in order to live life more fully. The sooner we come to terms with this, the better. But even if we receive this calling late in life, we are still blessed to receive it.

Surrendering to the Hurricane

Listening to your calling and accepting your spiritual awakening comes like a great hurricane.

Suddenly everything you’ve ever known is ripped away from you and lost in the tempest. The more you struggle, the more you get thrown around mercilessly. But the moment you surrender, you stand in the eye of the hurricane peacefully allowing everything that doesn’t serve you to be swept away.

Surrendering is extremely important in two ways. Firstly, it allows you to let go of your former limiting self, e.g. all of your beliefs, ambitions, roles, and perceptions of how you were suppose to be. And secondly surrendering allows you to embody your Soul, that is, all of your deepest longings, dreams and wildest passions.

It’s natural to experience fear and resistance in the face of the hurricane. You’ll need to deeply explore what parts of you are creating resistance. There are several ways to do this but the simplest way (in my opinion) is to write down how the fear feels in your body. What images and memories arise during your process of surrendering? Writing down what happened when you were “called” to the spiritual journey is also a great exercize, for example: where you were when it happened, what catalyzed it, how your body felt, what emotions arose within you, and other significant life events connected to it.

As you walk into the heart of your life crisis, you will need to confide in others who are going through similar experiences. This can bring a great sense of emotional alleviation and kinship, and you can find many online and local groups dedicated to inner awakenings. (For example, you’ll find a lot of kindred spirits on this website!)

Be prepared to experience immense loneliness as well. After all, surrendering your former worldview essentially separates you from your habitual way of life, including your old anchors, comforts and even friends or family members. Here are some ways to handle this temporary loneliness.

Unfortunately some people that go through life crises handle their previous responsibilities and commitments in unhealthy ways. You don’t necessarily need to quit your job, get divorced, sell your house, abandon your children, and leave your friends to embark on the spiritual path. Instead, starting your journey means becoming more in-tune with your soul, and exploring what is no longer supporting your growth and self-exploration.

I like to think of this period in life as “spiritual simplification.” In other words, what roles, relationships, activities, and possessions are in the way of Spirit flowing through you?

4 Signs You’ve Had a Spiritual Calling

So how do we know if we’re experiencing a deep calling towards spiritual awakening, or just a momentary mood swing or desire to escape from our life responsibilities?

Mythologist Joseph Campbell notes four qualities that accompany the spiritual calling. I’ve found them to be quite accurate and useful:

1) It’s not an avoidance of responsibility. Rather than providing you an opportunity to escape from your problems or burdens, a spiritual calling feels almost ominous. We all have problems we’d rather not face in our daily lives, but if you’re experiencing a spiritual calling, you’ll somehow sense that a difficult and overwhelming journey lies ahead of you. Despite this, there is a profound desire to embark on it.

2) It’s familiar yet frightening. Many describe the sensation as déjà vu or familiarity when listening to the voice of their souls.

3) You feel as though you’ve reached the end of your current journey. Whether you want to realize it or not, you feel as though your current path has reached a dead end. What once made you happy and excited now feels empty.

4) You weren’t looking for your true calling, it found you. Your calling was unexpected and unwanted. But now you face the fork in the road that demands your decision.

Other signs include feeling intensely powerful emotions and even altered states or mystical experiences during spiritual awakenings.

Ask yourself, what would happen if you ignored this calling? What emotions arise within you at the thought, and what do they reveal? You might also like to listen to whatever you feel drawn towards, pursue it, and pay attention to whether it feels intuitively right, or has undertones of fear beneath. When it’s a spiritual awakening, a true calling, you’ll feel closer to home with every step.

Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

Image: Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

It is often said that presentation is everything when it comes to meals, but there’s an even better reason to fill your plate with colorful foods. The pigment that gives foods like berries their rich red and purple hues also doubles as powerful protection against cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that this pigment, anthocyanin, not only offers antioxidant effects; it also protects people from chronic diseases. Indeed, one of its most impressive feats is lowering the risk of the cardiovascular conditions that take millions of lives each year, such as stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.

In a systematic review that involved more than 600,000 participants, British researchers looked at the impact that dietary anthocyanins had on cardiovascular events. They discovered that those who had the greatest dietary anthocyanin intake enjoyed a 9 percent reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease; when it came to death due to heart disease, their risk was 8 percent lower compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of anthocyanin.

The study, which was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, is the strongest argument yet for increasing your fruit intake. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests that people eat a minimum of two servings of fruit per day; just 32 percent of Americans reach that goal.

Choose the right fruits

It’s easy to spot fruits that contain anthocyanins because of their red, purple and blue colors. Some of the best sources include strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and bilberries. They can also be found in red cabbage, eggplant, and purple potatoes. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the fruit’s skins contain the most anthocyanins given their rich color, so make sure you also eat the skin – and be sure to choose organic to avoid pesticide exposure. The review’s authors say that just one to two portions of berries per day are enough to get the anthocyanins you need to protect your heart.

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Anthocyanin’s many benefits

The review is supported by several other studies, including one from 2012 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That study showed a link between a higher intake of anthocyanin and significantly lower systolic blood pressure, arterial pressure, and pulse wave velocity. It also confirmed an earlier study that showed eight weeks of taking blueberry supplements reduced participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 and 4 percent respectively.

In addition, anthocyanins can help prevent neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. They accomplish this by improving the communication between nerves and boosting blood flow to the brain. Their antioxidant effect also means they can stop brain damage caused by oxidative stress.

If you’re still not sold on the benefits of anthocyanins, consider this: They can fight cancer cells by attacking them and spurring cell death, in addition to activating the enzymes that rid your body of cancer-causing substances.

Studies have also shown that consuming foods rich in anthocyanins can lower your insulin resistance and protect beta cells in the pancreas, which helps normalize blood levels. That means anthocyanin-rich fruits can help inhibit diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the top causes of death in America, affecting 84 million Americans and causing roughly one out of every three deaths. Those are very frightening statistics, so you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to consume more anthocyanins and take other steps known to reduce your risk, like exercising and eating as healthier diet overall.

The ‘Mysterious Tracks’ on The Bottom of Belize’s Blue Hole Have a Simple Explanation

As an unexplored legend of the deep, the Great Blue Hole in Belize is said to hold deep-sea monsters and Maya mysteries.

The first expedition to the bottom has turned up neither of those wonders, but what scientists and explorers have discovered is fascinating – even though it is not, as several outlets have claimed, an unexplained mystery.

In December 2018, after diving 125 metres (410 feet) to the very bottom in a specially equipped submarine, the team noticed something strange. There, on the sand, were a set of tracks.

While it might be fun to imagine, the owner of these prints is not some monster of the deep lurking just out of sight. As it turns out, the truth is a less mysterious and more heartbreaking.

It’s true that the tracks are a sign of life, but it’s not flourishing life. Instead, they are remains of living things struggling to survive after ending up at the bottom of the world’s largest sinkhole where the water is anoxic – it doesn’t contain enough oxygen.

In a recent blog post, the chief submarine pilot on the expedition Erika Bergman explains that it’s not uncommon for conches to accidentally fall over the edge of the blue hole. Unable to crawl up the steep walls once again, these creatures inevitably suffocate, leading to what she describes as “conch graveyards.”

“We can see each conch with little tracks back up the hill trying to escape, then a slide mark where it slid back down after presumably being asphyxiated in the anoxic environment,” writes Bergman.

“So much sand billows down the steep rim of the hole at this location that fallen conch must be getting covered up quickly, so the sheer number of visible shells is a pretty good indicator that the conch population is healthy – it’s slightly morbid but describes something positive.”

The expedition was made in December of last year, and the team included not only Bergman, but billionaire Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of explorer Jacques Cousteau.

The Great Blue Hole is a complex system of limestone caves, and before it was drowned by melting ice caps 14,000 years ago, it used to stand on dry land. Today, at over 300 metres wide (nearly 1,000 feet), it remains a largely unexplored natural wonder.

Describing his trip to the bottom, Branson said he was taken aback by how quickly the seas must have risen to engulf such a large hole.

“At 300 feet [91 metres] down you could see the change in the rock where it used to be land and turned into sea,” he wrote in a blog about the adventure.

“It was one of the starkest reminders of the danger of climate change I’ve ever seen.”

Looking out the glass dome of their submarine, the team dove even further, plunging right through a dark fog of hydrogen sulphide, which had gathered over the centuries.

Like a light switch, everything went black. Below the fog there was not a hint of oxygen to be detected.

“It was extremely eerie,” described Branson. “We didn’t expect to see any creatures below. But when we got to the bottom we could see crabs, conches and other creatures that had fallen into the hole, arrived on the bottom and then ran out of oxygen and died.”

Using sonar to peer through the darkness, the team found overhangs, crevices and enormous stalactites, hanging like icicles right near the bottom. It was something that had never been seen before.

“You can be 20 or 30 meters away from a stalactite or a hunk of the wall and see it in every perfect detail, better than eyesight could even provide,” Erika Bergman told CNN Travel.

And then, of course, there was the “conch graveyard.” This was a stretch of the hole where the team saw hundreds of dead conches, at last defeated in their escape.


This wasn’t the only expedition, by the way. In November and December, the teams made over 20 dives into the nooks and crannies of the blue hole, and now, as a result, we have the first complete 3D map of this natural wonder.

At no point was a monster or a Maya mystery ever found. Instead, the most terrifying discovery were the consequences of our own history. Even here, there was no escape from ourselves.

“Well, the real monsters facing the ocean are climate change – and plastic,” writes Branson.

“Sadly, we saw plastic bottles at the bottom of the hole, which is a real scourge of the ocean.”

“Hopefully by this trip taking place we have raised even more awareness of the need to protect the ocean and tackle climate change now – before it is too late,” he adds.

Passion for eating healthy food declared a mental disorder by ‘expert’ psychiatrists

Clean eating

It’s no secret to tens of millions of Americans that Big Food is poisoning us daily with their fare. If that were not the case, then GMO-free restaurant chains like Chipotle wouldn’t be as popular as they are, and sales of organic foods would not be reaching record levels year after year.

Big Food, of course, isn’t taking that lying down. “Mainstream” food producers may be enlisting the help of academia in getting Americans who believe in sustainable, clean food, declared mentally unstable.

As reported by Waking Times, scientists at the University of Northern Colorado, who recently conducted a case study about the obsession with healthy eating, have concluded that such clean-food preoccupation could be a mental disorder. They’ve even given it a name (because you can’t have a disorder without a name, right?) – orthorexia nervosa, or ON for short, and researchers say the condition is made worse by a fear of being unhealthy and shunning low-quality, pesticide-ridden, GMO-laden, gluten-stuffed foods.

It’s ‘mental’ to eat processed foods

As the Waking Times reported further:

The psychologists conducting the study argue that healthy eating can become dangerous if one becomes fixated on the types of ingredients in food, how the food is cooked, and what materials are used to prepare it. Those “suffering” from orthorexia may take extra time to prepare their food and carefully consider what they are willing to eat.

The horror.

The news site noted that today, 90 percent of products sitting on grocery store shelves in the U.S. are packed with processed foods, much of which are scientifically engineered to create physical and mental addiction. As such, these overly processed foods, which are also mega-portioned, have led to all sorts of medical problems – diabetes especially, but also heart disease and cancer, obesity and other chronic conditions. Given that even traditional medical science knows this, why would conscientious efforts by Americans to lower their risk of contracting these diseases – thereby driving the cost of health care down – not be encouraged, rather than vilified and misdiagnosed as crazy?

That just seems silly – at least, for rational people. So what’s the problem? Co-author of the recent study, Thomas Dunn, an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado, notes:

Such draconian diets can lack essential nutrients, and they make the vitamins and minerals a person does get from meals of exclusively, say, leafy greens, impossible for the body to absorb. This can lead to fragile bones, hormonal shifts, and cardiac problems, along with psychological distress and entrenched, delusional thinking.

“Draconian diets?” If the good professor wants to talk about “draconian diets,” he needn’t look any further than what the average American household consumes on a daily basis: fast foods, processed sugars, sugary soda and food that is manufactured, not served in a natural form. If that weren’t the case, then why is there an obesity epidemic in the U.S.?

Eating clean isn’t crazy

In Dunn’s mind, if you meet two of the following, you might need some mental fixing:

1. You consume a nutritionally unbalanced diet because of concerns about “food purity.”
2. You’re preoccupied about how eating impure or unhealthy foods will affect your physical or emotional health.
3. You rigidly avoid any food you deem to be “unhealthy,” such as those containing fat, preservatives, additives or animal products.
4. You spend three or more hours per day reading about, acquiring or preparing certain kinds of food you believe to be “pure.”
5. You feel guilty if you eat foods you believe to be “impure.”
6. You’re intolerant of other’s food beliefs.
7. You spend an excessive proportion of your income on “pure” foods.

Is Dunn part of the emerging medical/academia clique attempting to work with the administration to get more people declared mentally incompetent so the FBI can take their guns away?

The reality is, good nutrition actually helps prevent mental disorders, as we have repeatedly noted. [Here, here, and here, for starters]. Clean eating is the key to sound mental health – not processed junk. And it’s not “crazy” to eat that way.

Scientists Get the Green Light to Resurrect the Dead With Stem Cells

(MindsBioquark, a biotech company based in the United States, has been given the go-ahead to begin research on 20 brain-dead patients, in an attempt to stimulate and regrow neurons and, literally, bring the patients back from the dead.

The technique is new and untested so the study will likely be controversial.

By implanting stem cells in the patient’s brain, in addition to treating the spinal cord with infusions of chemicals and nerve stimulation techniques (both of which have been shown to bring people out of comas), they hope to reboot the brain and jump-start neural activity.

The result could be people coming back to life.

There isn’t much evidence that this will work, though there is one well-known neurological researcher and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, Dr. Calixto Machado who is involved with the study as a panel expert.

Bioquark’s CEO, Ira Pastor, said that

“to undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness. We hope to see results within the first two to three months.”

He added, “it is a long-term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study.

“It is a bridge to that eventuality.”

Are You a Risk-Taker? It Might Lie in Your Genes

Do you shy away from risky business or cast caution aside and go for it?

Either way, your answer could come from your DNA.

Scientists have identified more than 100 genetic variants linked with risk-taking, according to a groundbreaking new study.

“Genetic variants that are associated with overall risk tolerance — a measure based on self-reports about individuals’ tendencies to take risks in general — tend to also be associated with more speeding, drinking, tobacco and cannabis consumption, and with riskier investments and sexual behavior,” said the study’s corresponding author Jonathan Beauchamp. He’s an assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto, Canada.

“We also found shared genetic influences on overall risk tolerance and several personality traits and neuropsychiatric traits — including ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder], bipolar disorder and schizophrenia,” he added in a university news release.

While individual effects of each of the 124 identified genetic variants in 99 separate regions of the genome are small, their combined impact can be significant, the researchers explained.

“The most important variant explains only 0.02 percent of the variation in overall risk tolerance across individuals. However, the variants’ effects can be combined to account for greater variation in risk tolerance,” Beauchamp said.

His team created a “polygenic score” that rates the combined effects of 1 million genetic variants and accounts for about 1.6 percent of differences in risk tolerance from person to person.

“I expect it to be useful in social science studies,” Beauchamp said. “For instance, the score can be used to study how genetic factors interact with environmental variables to affect risk tolerance and risky behaviors.”

But the score can’t meaningfully predict a particular person’s tolerance for risk or risk-taking behavior, according to the authors of the study published Jan. 14 in the journal Nature Genetics.

The study — one of the largest ever — included genetic information from more than 1 million people with European ancestry, the researchers said.

The investigators found no evidence to support previously reported links between risk tolerance and certain genes, such as those associated with dopamine or serotonin, neurochemicals involved in the processing of rewards and mood regulation.

Instead, the new findings suggest that the neurochemicals glutamate and GABA contribute to individual differences in risk tolerance. Both are important regulators of brain activity.

“Our results point to the role of specific brain regions — notably the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and midbrain — that have previously been identified in neuroscientific studies on decision-making,” Beauchamp said.

“They conform with the expectation that variation in risk tolerance is influenced by thousands, if not millions, of genetic variants,” he concluded.

When Your Partner Is Dismissive

couple in conflictFeeling that your partner truly listens to you is essential for a healthy relationship. So, when your partner seems to dismiss your struggles or worries with comments like, “You need to get over it” or “Just stop worrying,” it can do damage to your relationship.

They might respond in this seemingly callous way because it pains them to see you hurting and they feel helpless to make the situation better. So, their solution is to basically try pushing the problem away.

Whatever the reason, their dismissal may make even more upset. You might get angry – leading to greater friction in the relationship. Or, you might criticize yourself for overreacting – which only increases your distress. Instead, what you need – even if you are overreacting – is to feel comforted. This will help you to calm down and feel supported in working through your struggles.

So, if you find that your partner tends to dismiss your concerns, it is important to be clear that you need your partner to take whatever you are feeling seriously and to empathize with you. With this clarity, you can address the problem with your partner, asking for what you need. To do this, it may help to follow these steps in a calm moment:

Explain how being dismissed makes you feel.Rather than talking at length about their reaction to you, focus on your reaction to their response – such as feeling hurt, angry, sad, or whatever else might be going on for you.

State that you want them to listen and understand; and you don’t need for them to agree or solve your problem. Even if you eventually would like help in resolving an issue, the first step is for you to feel understood, supported and cared about. Your partner attending to how you feel will convey this.

Ask what they are hearing you say. If you are not sure that they really understand, simply ask them. If their response doesn’t capture what you are saying, then clarify your message.

Ask for suggestions or advice. If you want more concrete help after getting emotional support, let your partner know that you would welcome it.

While this direct way of communicating will hopefully help improve your sense of feeling listened to by your partner, it might not work. Your partner’s own current problems might be impairing their ability to listen well. Or, maybe their difficulty is more topic-related. In these situations, the best solution will probably be to temporarily seek support elsewhere.

However, your partner’s problem listening might also reveal a deeper disconnect. Some people tend to have trouble listening in an empathetic and supportive way. If this is the case with your partner, you will need to decide how to proceed. This could mean accepting their limits and looking elsewhere for support; getting couples counseling to help; or even deciding to leave your relationship behind.

When you generally feel loved and cared about, your partner’s failure to truly listen is a problem that can usually be addressed successfully. The key is to explain what you need in a caring and clear way.

Are cold showers healthy?


Cold showers provide energy

To enjoy a cold shower or a cold bath you will initially have to arm yourself with a little bit of courage, for the initial impact.

However, it is that same initial impact of the cold shower that allows the brain to receive signals to quickly warm the body

Cold showers make us breathe more deeply, to the point of heating the body naturally, while increasing total oxygen consumption.

Which in turn has an impact on the increase in heart rate, stimulating blood circulation throughout the body and increasing the level of energy during the day.

The body is more adaptable for future stress events and therefore generally more resistant.

Showers with cold water improve blood circulation

Showering with cold water promotes blood circulation throughout the body, provides better care to our vital organs and helps prevent heart disease.

Also, it strengthens the walls of the blood vessels, protects against varicose veins and hardens the arterial walls. It improves blood pressur , increases the pumping power of the heart and strengthens the body’s defenses.

Showers with cold water are excellent for skin and hair

Cold showers provide a refreshing and healthy look to the skin and hair .Hot water often causes our hair to become brittle, in addition to drying the skin.

The cold water contracts the pores and protects them from obstructions and prevents dirt from penetrating, tones the skin, promotes circulation and prevents excessive loss of oil from the skin.

The shiny appearance of the hair is due to the cold water, in addition, it strengthens the hair and also the hair follicles.

Sports performance improves when showering with cold water

Cold showers promote regeneration after muscle training, relieve muscle pain and help the body recover. Especially cold water baths after a workout relieve muscle pain and stimulate regeneration.

Cold showers promote fat burning

The human body has 2 types of adipose tissue, white fat and brown fat.

White fat is created when you consume more calories than necessary and do not burn as energy.

This type of fat accumulates around the waist, back, neck and legs.

On the contrary, brown fat is the good fat that generates heat to keep us warm.

It is activated when the temperatures are extreme.

Cold showers promote the activity of brown fat, increasing calorie consumption and reducing white fat.

All these characteristics are positive and good reasons to take daily cold showers.

The stimulating and invigorating effect on circulation in the long term has a very positive effect on our health, our well-being and our energy.

It is best to start today with the first cold water shower … I guarantee that it’s worth it.

Showering with cold water is ideal for depression

Cold showers cause an adrenaline rush.

The cold water stimulates the cold receptors in the skin, so that they send a quantity of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings are sent in the direction of the brain.

This creates an antidepressant effect and improves mood.

For these reasons cold showers are very useful especially for depression and bad mood.

Simple trick to take cold showers

  • First start with a hot shower.
  • Rinse the soap with hot water
  • Go from warm water to warm water for one minute.
  • Two minutes with the least warm water possible.
  • Begin to introduce the water as cold as possible, another minute
  • One minute with cold water.
  • The last minutes with the water as cold as you can hold, you will see that you no longer want to get out of the shower.


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