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Inspiring: Healing Our Bodies News Stories

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From hip hop to ‘Top Chef’: How two NYC after-school programs teach students about healthy eating
2023-10-06, Chalkbeat
Posted: 2024-05-19 13:57:43
https://www.chalkbeat.org/newyork/2023/10/6/23901806/nyc-healthy-eating-after...

Kevin, a sixth grader at P.S. 146 in Queens who hopes to one day work as a doctor, said he’s always tried to study nutrition. But it wasn’t until he participated in the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S., or Healthy Eating and Living in Schools, after-school program last year that he found an engaging way to learn about it at school. The program, developed in partnership between Columbia University neurologist Olajide Williams and hip hop artist Doug E. Fresh, relies on music to help teach students about healthy eating. What Kevin participated in was one of two after-school healthy eating programs that are being studied as part of a partnership between the after-school provider New York Edge and Columbia University. About 300 students across 20 school sites were provided with either the Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S. program, or NY Edge’s Food Explorers program, with their nutritional choices tracked over the course of 10 or more weeks. Through the partnership, researchers aim to learn if the educational interventions from these programs can help kids make healthier choices, particularly at chain restaurants. The focus on teaching students to navigate settings like chain restaurants is especially important as many kids in the programs live in “food swamps,” or areas with few healthy food options, Williams said. “We’d love to have community gardens everywhere,” he added. “But the reality is many people live in food swamps. It’s about how we get them to make better decisions within those swamps.”

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies and the power of art.


Balinese Foundation Treats Autistic Children with Organic Food
2017-01-02, Jakarta Post
Posted: 2024-05-19 13:55:06
https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/01/02/balinese-foundation-treats-aut...

“People think that Bali is a paradise, but if you come inside you see it’s a different story,” said Ni Nyoman Sri Wahyuni. For 12 years she has been caring for orphans, autistic children and children with Down Syndrome. “Many Balinese believe that these children are cursed, due to bad karma." children with very low IQs are not received by Sekolah Luar Biasa (Special Needs Schools). Such children, many with autism and Down Syndrome, have little to no support. This is what inspired Sri Wahyuni and her husband, I Ketut Sadia, to open the Yayasan Widya Guna school 10 years ago. Today Yayasan Widya Guna provides daily schooling to over 100 students, both disabled and non-disabled. Besides providing English, exercise and art classes to the children, it also teaches organic farming and promotes a healthy diet among students. “We’ve received lots of information suggesting that poor nutrition is a factor in developing autism,” said Sri Wahyuni. The foundation serves meals with lots of vegetables, and tries to not include too many fried foods. Sri Wahyuni says that kids who used to catch colds and the flu rarely fall sick these days. A student with epilepsy, whose parents complained was having three seizures a day, has stopped having seizures completely since he started attending the yayasan. The Yayasan Widya Guna ... also offers English classes for local children attending regular schools.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies.


The miracle that cured my son’s autism was in our kitchen
2015-06-17, New York Post
Posted: 2024-05-19 13:52:31
https://nypost.com/2015/06/17/is-diet-the-key-to-curing-autism/

When a doctor told Susan Levin her 4-year-old son, Ben, was autistic, she was shocked. “Oh my God. What are we going to do?” Levin recalls. “Everyone knew autism was a lifelong disorder and couldn’t be cured.” Except that in Ben’s case, it could be. And it was. The family’s journey ... is detailed in her new memoir, “Unlocked: A Family Emerging From the Shadows of Autism.” Levin is part of a growing group of people who are paying more attention to diet — organic, gluten- and casein-free among them — as a way to treat the symptoms of autism and other disorders. Now 12, Ben is studying for his bar mitzvah. Eight years after that chilling diagnosis, he’s become more empathetic, frequently saying “I love you” to his mother, his father and sister. Levin says his newfound compassion is nothing short of a miracle. While the scientific verdict is still out on diet as a cure, statistics point to a definite link between gastrointestinal issues and autism. A 2012 study published by the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found a direct link between GI issues and behavior. As many as 70 percent of children with autism have gastrointestinal issues at some point during childhood or adolescence. Kathleen DiChiara ... was diagnosed with sudden onset neuropathy, which left her unable to walk. When the doctors told her there was little to be done, she went back to school to study. She’s now a nutrition educator, chef and speaker who credits an all-organic diet for healing not only herself, but her 11- year-old son, Steven, who’d been diagnosed as autistic but is no longer considered to be.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies.


A daycare built a ‘forest floor’, and it changed kids’ immune systems
2020-10-28, The Optimist Daily
Posted: 2024-04-29 12:40:27
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2020/10/a-daycare-turned-their-playground-into-...

One daycare in Finland decided to invest in a playground that replicated the forest floor. The results were amazing. The daycare replaced their sandy playground surface with lawn and added indigenous forest species like dwarf heather and blueberries. They also added planter boxes and allowed children to tend them. After just one month, children at the daycare had healthier microbiomes and stronger immune systems than their counterparts in other urban daycares. Specifically, the children had increased T-cells, increased immune-boosting gammaproteobacteria microbes, and a reduction in interleukin-17A, a contributor to immune-transmitted disease. Environmental scientist Marja Roslund from the University of Helsinki said, “We also found that the intestinal microbiota of children who received greenery was similar to the intestinal microbiota of children visiting the forest every day.” These results demonstrate that loss of biodiversity in urban areas can contribute to poorer health outcomes and that easy environmental manipulation can radically change these health dynamics, especially in young children. Children living in rural areas tend to have fewer cases of allergies and asthma which seems to be directly tied to time outdoors. More studies are needed to definitively draw the correlation between time in nature and childhood health, but this experiment strengthens the argument for this link.

Note: Explore more positive stories about healing our bodies.


How I rewired my brain in six weeks
2023-09-18, BBC News
Posted: 2024-04-15 12:34:23
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230912-how-i-hacked-my-brain

There is growing evidence that simple, everyday changes to our lives can alter our brains and change how they work. Our brain has an incredible ability to adapt, learn and grow because by its nature, it is plastic – that is, it changes. This is called neuroplasticity, which simply means the brain's ability to adapt and evolve over time in structure and function. Every time we learn a new skill, our brain adapts. Neuroscientists and psychologists are now finding that we have the power to control that to some extent. And there's good reason to want to boost our brain – an increasing number of studies suggest it can play a role in delaying or preventing degenerative brain diseases. Research has found that after only a few months of mindfulness training, certain depression and anxiety symptoms can ease – though as with any complex mental health problem, this may of course vary depending on individual circumstances. There's more to it. Mindfulness can change the brain. That's because when the stress hormone cortisol increases and remains high, "it can become toxic for your brain", says [psychologist Thorsten] Barnhofer. Stress can also directly inhibit neuroplasticity, so managing it allows the brain to remain more plastic. What's fascinating about this area of research is that mindfulness, which appears to be such a simple process, can have a measurable effect. "What mindfulness does is it can buffer stress, you become aware of challenges," explains Barnhofer.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


These athletes suffered life-changing injuries. Then, they turned to psychedelics
2024-02-26, CNN News
Posted: 2024-04-15 12:32:34
https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/19/sport/psilocybin-athletes-life-changing-injuri...

Daniel Carcillo wanted two things in life: to play hockey and to be a father. By 30, he was a two-time Stanley Cup winner. By age 31, he was suicidal. After seven diagnosed concussions, Carcillo tells CNN that he was suffering from “dementia-like” symptoms, along with depression, anxiety and headaches. Carcillo says he also suffered from insomnia and disrupted sleep. He spent over $500,000 on prescription medications and treatments at stroke rehabilitation centers, brain centers, and concussion centers, as well as holistic therapies. Then in a “last-ditch effort” to try and alleviate his symptoms, he says he took a dose of psilocybin – the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms – in Denver, which became the first US city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms. “And I woke up the next day and I describe it as feeling the way I should,” said Carcillo. “I felt like, for the first time in a very, very long time, I had a zest for life. All I wanted to do was get on FaceTime and call my wife and call my kids and get back home.” Carcillo isn’t the only athlete – former or current – openly talking about using psychedelics to treat various conditions. In 2022, residents in Colorado joined Oregon in voting to legalize psilocybin. Small clinical trials have shown that one or two doses of psilocybin, given in a therapeutic setting, can make dramatic and long-lasting changes in people suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder.

Note: Read more about the the healing potential of psychedelic medicine. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


German hospitals serve planetary health diet
2024-03-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-04-01 14:32:41
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/mar/28/planetary-health-diet-mea...

Patrick Burrichter did not think about saving lives or protecting the planet when he trained as a chef. But 25 years later he has focused his culinary skills on doing exactly that. On the outskirts of Berlin, Burrichter and his team cook for a dozen hospitals that offer patients a “planetary health” diet – one that is rich in plants and light in animals. Compared with the typical diet in Germany, known for its bratwurst sausage and doner kebab, the 13,000 meals they rustle up each day are better for the health of people and the planet. In Burrichter’s kitchen, the steaming vats of coconut milk dal and semolina dumpling stew need to be more than just cheap and healthy – they must taste so good that people ditch dietary habits built up over decades. The biggest challenge, says Burrichter, is replacing the meat in a traditional dish. Moderate amounts of meat can form part of a healthy diet, providing protein and key nutrients, but the average German eats twice as much as doctors advise. Patients on the wards of Waldfriede praise the choice of meals on offer. Martina Hermann, 75, says she has been inspired to cook more vegetables when she gets home. Followers of the planetary health diet need not abandon animal products altogether. The guidelines, which were proposed by 37 experts from the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019, translate to eating meat once a week and fish twice a week, along with more wholegrains, nuts and legumes.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How Self-Compassion Can Help People Achieve Weight Loss Goals Despite Setbacks–and Resume Dieting Faster
2024-03-10, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-03-18 19:25:25
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/how-self-compassion-can-help-people-achieve-w...

A study of 140 overweight or obese adults enrolled in a weight loss program found that higher levels of self-compassion, particularly self-kindness, were linked to reduced negative feelings following a dietary lapse. Individuals who practiced self-kindness tended to feel less guilty and more positive about themselves despite the setback. Afterward, they reported feeling more in command of their eating habits, suggesting that self-compassion can help people regain a sense of agency after a lapse. The research from the Center for Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Sciences (WELL Center) at Drexel University, published in Appetite, found that when study participants had more self-compassionate responses to their lapse, they reported better mood and self-control over their eating and exercise behavior in the hours following the lapse. “Many people worry that self-compassion will cause complacency and lead them to settle for inadequacy, but this study is a great example of how self-compassion can help people be more successful in meeting their goals,” said [lead author] Charlotte Hagerman, PhD. “The next time you feel the urge to criticize yourself for your eating behavior, instead try speaking to yourself with the kindness that you would speak to a friend or loved one.” For example, instead of a person saying to his or herself, “You have no willpower,” reframe it to a kinder – and truer – statement: “You’re trying your best in a world that makes it very difficult to lose weight.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Eve by Cat Bohannon review – long overdue evolutionary account of women and their bodies
2023-10-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-03-18 19:23:42
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/oct/10/eve-how-female-body-drove-200-m...

Over hundreds of thousands of years, women have developed more sensitive noses (particularly around ovulation and pregnancy), finer hearing at high frequencies, extended colour vision, and longer life expectancy than men by an impressive half decade. Forget plasma exchange and supplementation – entrepreneurs trying to extend human life should be studying women, who comprise around 80% of today’s centenarians. American academic and author Cat Bohannon asks how this came to be, tracing defining female features back to our “presumed true ancestors”, our Eves as she calls them. Bohannon calls on her astounding disciplinary range to tell this epic tale. Her writing ripples with references from literature, film studies, biochemistry, cognitive science and anthropology. Evolution, as Bohannon emphasises, doesn’t care about our contemporary preferences or sensitivities. This emboldens her to confront uncomfortable stereotypes, like whether women’s brains have evolved to be inferior to men’s (in fact, the sexes have strikingly similar cerebral equipment). The author’s parting plea is that we learn more about women and girls. In the UK, unlike the US, there is still no regulation that insists women are included in medical research. Not everyone agrees with the ethical good of extending participation. Might they acknowledge that being specific about people’s sex and gender leads to more rigorous and reproducible scientific results?

Note: Read more about author Cat Bohannon's fascinating take on a wide range of discoveries and differences between the male and female body.


A big idea for small farms: How to link agriculture, nutrition and public health
2024-02-03, NPR
Posted: 2024-02-12 19:15:44
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2024/02/03/1228749130/nutrition-far...

Jimena Cordero is chopping up vegetables and fanning them out onto trays. Cordero is the farm manager at Ollin Farms, not far from Boulder, Colo. — she's put together bright pink and purple radishes, apple, fresh turnips. At the meeting with about a dozen local farmers, two state representatives, and the Colorado commissioner of agriculture, [Cordero's father Mark] Guttridge will explain how Boulder county has made creative investments in his farm that could be scaled up to the state or even national level. Before the meeting, Guttridge shows me one of those investments. A dozen sheep mill about in a field bordered by a simple white fence. Around the field is a special moveable type of fencing that Ollin Farms bought using grants from the Boulder County Sustainability Office. It allows them to move the sheep from one field to another, fertilizing as they go. The goal of these investments is "really building up our soil health," he explains. "That relates directly to the nutrient quality and nutrient density of the food — healthy soil grows healthy food." The county also makes an effort to get that healthy food out to different communities to be able to boost public health. That's where the Boulder County Public Health department comes in. It created a coupon program that low-income families — many of mixed immigration status — can use to get free fruits and vegetables from Ollin Farms' farm stand.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Cells of people living in greener areas age more slowly, research finds
2023-12-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-02-12 19:13:41
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/dec/02/green-space-ageing-neighborhood

Many studies have shown that people living in greener neighborhoods have several health benefits, including lower levels of stress and cardiovascular disease. But new research indicates that exposure to parks, trees and other green spaces can slow the rates at which our cells age. The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found that people who lived in neighborhoods with more green space had longer telomeres, which are associated with longer lives and slower ageing. Telomeres are structures that sit on the ends of each cell’s 46 chromosomes, like the plastic caps on shoelaces, and keep DNA from unraveling. The longer a cell’s telomeres, the more times it can replicate. When telomeres become so short that cells can’t divide, the cells die. [Study co-author Aaron] Hipp and his colleagues looked at the medical records (that included measures of telomere lengths from biological samples) and survey responses from more than 7,800 people who participated in a national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey conducted between 1999 and 2002. The researchers connected that information with census data to estimate the amount of green space in each person’s neighborhood. They found that a 5% increase in a neighborhood’s green space was associated with a 1% reduction in the ageing of cells. “The more green the area, the slower the cell ageing,” said Hipp.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Getting On the Dance Floor Will Shred Pounds in Overweight People, Improve Blood Pressure and Mental Health
2024-01-23, Good News Network
Posted: 2024-02-02 11:24:36
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/getting-on-dance-floor-will-shred-pounds-in-o...

Boogying the night away produces meaningful improvements in one's body mass and waist circumference in people who are overweight or obese, a new study found. Dancing was also seen to improve blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, physical fitness, cognitive disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, and mental health—in other words, all the root causes of the non-communicable diseases that kill most people in the West. The researchers believed that dance would be a more ideal form of exercise because it is sustainable—it's a sociable, entertaining way of exercising that participants will enjoy, rather than a drudgery they have to push themselves through. “Dance is effective on fat loss in people overweight and obese and has a significant improvement on body composition and morphology,” said Zhang Yaya, a Ph.D. student at Hunan University, China. To get their results, published in the journal PLoS ONE, the team studied data from 646 participants who were overweight and obese across ten different studies. They found that dance is very effective for improving body composition and showed that more creative dance types had the most pronounced body composition improvement when compared with traditional dance. Improvements were also found in overweight children and patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The sports movement spreading positivity in war-torn Yemen
2023-08-16, Positive News
Posted: 2024-01-02 14:10:04
https://www.positive.news/society/yemen-best-team-sports-club/

By the time the sun casts its first beams on war-ravaged Yemen, hundreds of men will have taken their positions across the park, and the workout begins. Enthusiastic chants of “Ahsan Fareek”, or “Best Team”, boom across the park as members of this daily, free, open-to-all sports club begin a set of 33 exercises designed to work the whole body. For the next hour, they temporarily put aside the stressors they’ve accumulated from the devastating eight-year civil war that has claimed 377,000 lives, touching their toes, standing on one leg and reaching for the sky. By 6.30am the crowd disperses, and everyone goes about their day, rejuvenated and energized, ready to meet again the following morning. “It is a sports club for everyone, but it’s particularly vital for the elderly, who suffer from illnesses and anxiety and for whom treatment is unaffordable,” says Najy Abu Hatem, co-founder of the initiative. “Being part of Best Team lifts their morale and gives them free exercise classes in a healthy and social setting.” In a country of 33 million people, there are only 59 psychiatrists – one psychiatrist per 500,000 people – and the total number of mental health workers is just 304. Although Best Team can hardly tackle this huge, ongoing mental health crisis, the twin benefits it provides of camaraderie and physical exercise – under the guise of a more socially acceptable men’s sports club – is nonetheless quietly improving people’s mental wellbeing across the capital and beyond.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


California becomes the first state to ban 4 food additives linked to disease
2023-10-10, NPR
Posted: 2023-11-07 16:00:20
https://www.npr.org/2023/10/10/1204839281/california-ban-food-additives-red-d...

California has become the first U.S. state to outlaw the use of four potentially harmful food and drink additives that have been linked to an array of diseases, including cancer, and are already banned in dozens of countries. The California Food Safety Act prohibits the manufacturing, distribution and sale of food and beverages that contain brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye 3 — which can be found in candy, fruit juices, cookies and more. The Food and Drug Administration banned the use of red dye 3 in cosmetics in 1990 after evidence showed it caused cancer in lab animals. But the government hasn't prohibited its use in food, and it's an ingredient in candies. Brominated vegetable oil and potassium bromate have also been associated with harmful effects on the respiratory and nervous systems, while propylparaben may negatively impact reproductive health. The proposal has been the target of a false claim that California is attempting to ban Skittles. In fact, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, has said that Skittles are sold with alternative ingredients in the European Union, where the four additives are already banned. "It's unacceptable that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to food safety," Gabriel said in a statement. In addition to the EU, countries that have banned the four additives in food include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘This feels more like spin-the-bottle than science’: my mission to find a proper diagnosis – and treatment – for my son’s psychosis
2023-02-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-10-29 17:12:33
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/feb/25/this-feels-more-like-spin-the...

Psychosis is often thought to be genetic, or a symptom of brain chemistry gone awry, which is what I was led to believe for much of my journey through the traditional mental health system. [My son] Zach’s first diagnosis was psychosis NOS (Not Otherwise Specified). Later ... he was classified with either schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, depression with psychotic symptoms or, more recently, schizoaffective disorder. I craved solutions, and the more I searched the more confused I became. First, I discovered that no disease markers show up in brain scans or blood tests for any of these so-called disorders. Nobody seems to know for sure what is really going on, which feels more like a spin-the-bottle game than science. The effects of the antipsychotic drugs were intolerable for Zach, far worse than the symptoms that they were meant to alleviate. In Finland, a more radical understanding of extreme distress led to a programme called Open Dialogue which aims to avoid hospitalisation and medication with therapy that revolves around families and other networks, and involves contact, preferably in the person’s home. It has contributed to lowering the suicide rate in Finland; one of the highest in the world in the 1990s, it has dropped by 50% since Open Dialogue began. Despite a quarter of a trillion pounds spent on mental health in Britain since the 1980s, it is the only area of medicine where outcomes have stalled, and by some measures are even going backwards.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The butterflies of Liberia: transforming the lives of former child soldiers
2023-10-03, Positive News
Posted: 2023-10-23 14:06:48
https://www.positive.news/society/the-butterflies-of-liberia-transforming-the...

In Liberia, two brutal civil wars have produced a generation of traumatised young men. Anthony Kamara likes to use the analogy of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. It’s an old story, he admits, but useful in reaching through the years of compounded shame that form the exterior skin of Liberia’s lost and marginalised young men. “I tell the men that their true colours are there, hidden within them,” says Kamara, 32, a former street drug user and a facilitator for a radical Liberian mental health nonprofit Network for Empowerment and Programme Initiatives (Nepi). Nepi targets Liberia’s most marginalised men – street dwellers, petty criminals, chronic drug users: traumatised ex-combatants and their sons with anger issues and little to live for – in an effort to ripple benefits across Liberia’s population, 68% of whom are living on less than $1.90 (£1.60) a day. Nepi offers a tailored combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and cash transfers to young people who are at the highest risk for violent behaviour, in a programme called Sustainable Transformation of Youth in Liberia (Styl). Styl has since helped tens of thousands of young men in Liberia, with studies on the project finding that men receiving therapy with cash were half as likely as a control group to engage in antisocial behaviours, with beneficial impacts concentrated in the highest-risk men.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


What survivors of trauma have taught this eminent psychiatrist about hope
2023-10-08, NPR
Posted: 2023-10-16 01:17:27
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/10/08/1203975027/what-survivor...

In 1968, at the age of 42, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton sat down to write Death in Life, a book about his experiences interviewing survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over the course of his career, Lifton studied not only survivors of the atomic bombings but Auschwitz survivors, Vietnam war veterans and people who'd been subjected to repression by the Chinese government. The COVID pandemic prompted him to reflect on what he'd learned about mass trauma and resilience – that telling stories about trauma, and even trying to influence policy, can often help people recover. Now 97, Lifton has just published his 13th book, Surviving Our Catastrophes: Resilience and Renewal from Hiroshima to the Covid-19 Pandemic. "I interviewed people who had undergone the most extreme kind of trauma and victimization," [said Lifton]. "And yet some of the very same people who had so suffered from trauma have shown what I call "survivor wisdom" — they transformed themselves from helpless victims to agents of survival. If ... storytelling can include the transformation from the helpless victim to the life-enhancing survivor, then the storytelling is crucial. The storytelling we most encourage is that kind that enables the formerly helpless victim to be transformed in the story, to transform himself or herself, collectively transform themselves into life-affirming survivors. That's the key transformation, and that's the story we [listeners] seek to help them achieve."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Can cooking and gardening at school inspire better nutrition? Ask these kids
2023-10-09, NPR
Posted: 2023-10-16 01:15:59
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/10/09/1204077086/can-cooking-a...

After a decline in nutrition education in U.S. schools in recent decades, there's new momentum to weave food and cooking into the curriculum again. Remember the hands-on cooking in home economics class, which was a staple in U.S. schools for decades? "I'd love to see it brought back and have the science around healthy eating integrated," says Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dean told me she was inspired by a visit to Watkins Elementary, in Washington, D.C., where this idea is germinating. Students grow vegetables in their school garden. They also roll up their sleeves in the school's kitchen to participate in a FRESHFARM FoodPrints class, which integrates cooking and nutrition education. Evaluations show participation in FRESHFARM programs is associated with increased preference for fruits and vegetables. And, the CDC points to evidence that nutrition education may help students maintain a healthy weight and can also help students recognize the connection between food and emotional wellbeing. Given the key role diet plays in preventing chronic disease, the agency says it would be ideal to offer more nutrition education. Programs like FRESHFARM can help kids expand their palettes by introducing them to new tastes. At first, many kids are turned off by the bitter taste of greens. But through the alchemy of cooking, caramelizing the onions, and blending in fresh ginger, kids can be inspired.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Navigating the Waves
2023-08-21, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-10-03 15:10:27
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/navigating-the-waves/

Natalie Small looks at the ocean. “How high are the waves today – the ones out there on the water and the emotional ones within me? These are questions she likes to ask at the start of every group therapy session on Ocean Beach in San Diego, California. Small ... is part of a burgeoning niche of psychotherapy that blends traditional therapy with a sport proven to build resilience, confidence and well-being. More than a hippie wellness novelty or New Age fad, surf therapy is being embraced by psychologists and government agencies alike as a way to increase access to mental health care while delivering evidence-based, lasting results. Kristen Walter ... received a $1 million grant from the Navy to research surf therapy for military personnel. “We see immediate benefits,” Walter confirms. “Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety decrease significantly.” Walter’s research has shown that the effects of surf therapy are lasting: When she randomly assigned 96 military participants with mental health diagnoses to either hiking or surf therapy, both groups spent three to four hours per week in nature. After six weeks, both groups showed improvements — 55 percent of the surfers and 46 percent of the hikers were no longer considered clinically ill. “But when we checked again three months later, the improvements in the surfer group lasted significantly longer,” Walter says. “74 percent of the surfers were considered healed versus only 47 percent of the hikers.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How rhythm shapes our lives
2023-05-26, BBC News
Posted: 2023-09-18 14:04:23
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230526-how-rhythm-shapes-our-lives

Why do we care about rhythm? It connects us to the world. It plays a role in listening, in language, in understanding speech in noisy places, in walking, and even in our feelings toward one another. Rhythm is much more than a component of music. We experience the rhythmic changes of the seasons. Some of us have menstrual cycles. We have circadian rhythms – daily cycles of mental and physical peaks and troughs. Tides, 17-year cicadas, lunar phases, perigees, and apogees are other naturally occurring rhythms. Human-made rhythms include the built world – street grids, traffic lights, crop fields, mowed designs in baseball diamond outfields, the backsplash behind the kitchen counter, spatial patterns in geometric visual artforms. Rhythms in the brain have been called out as a basis for consciousness itself. Even in very young children, being (literally) "in sync" with another person engenders positive feelings toward them. Music in general, and rhythm in particular, does an uncommonly good job fostering a sense of community. Indeed, music being played at negotiation sessions helps to smooth the conversations and leads to breakthroughs and compromisesMusicians Without Borders is used to form relationships in troubled regions around the world, to bring hope, comfort, and healing to diverse populations. The Resonance Project and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, which are forming bonds between Israeli and Palestinian children, are other examples of using musical rhythm to overcome differences.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


What does cancer smell like? These animals can sniff it out
2023-02-27, National Geographic
Posted: 2023-08-20 16:17:03
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/these-animals-detect-disea...

Next time you’re irritated that ants have gotten into your kitchen, you might take a moment to consider their extraordinary powers of perception. These tiny animals can detect markers of illness, such as cancer. In fact, ants are just one of many creatures whose senses can register signs of human disease: dogs, rats, bees, and even tiny worms can as well. The silky ant, Formica fusca, a common species found throughout Europe, can be taught to identify the scent of breast cancer in urine. Research from the University Sorbonne Paris Nord in France published this year in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows ants can learn to distinguish between the scent of urine derived from mice carrying human breast cancer tumors from that of healthy mice. Ants and other animals pick up signs of disease by perceiving various volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals are produced in a variety of ways and can be found in exhaled breath, and in sweat, urine, and blood. Diseases can change the VOCs we emit, resulting in giving off a different odor. By placing a sugar reward near the cancer sample the ants learned to seek out that scent, a process called operant conditioning. Dogs can be trained to smell several types of cancers, including melanoma, breast and gastrointestinal cancers and some infectious diseases in humans, including malaria and Parkinson’s disease. They can also smell infectious disease in other animals, including chronic wasting disease, which affects the brains of deer and can be fatal.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Walking and yoga 'can cut risk of cancer spreading or returning'
2023-06-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-07-23 15:07:02
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/jun/06/walking-and-yoga-can-cut-risk...

Walking for 30 minutes a day and practising yoga can help reduce fatigue in cancer patients and cut the risk of the disease spreading, coming back or resulting in death, research suggests. Globally, more than 18 million people develop cancer every year. It is well known that being inactive raises your risk of various forms of the disease. For decades, many oncologists and health professionals have remained reluctant to push patients to exercise in the wake of sometimes gruelling treatment regimes. But the tide appears to be turning. Three studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world's largest cancer conference, add weight to growing evidence that physical activity can help, not hinder, patients. The first study [examined] the impact of yoga's effect on inflammation. The research ... found those who took up yoga had "significantly lower levels of pro-inflammatory markers" compared with patients in the other group. In the second study, [participants] attended 75-minute yoga or health education classes twice a week for four weeks. Yoga was found to be better at helping relieve fatigue and maintain quality of life, the research found. A third study found cancer patients who are active can reduce their risk of dying by almost a fifth. Patients were ranked by their activity levels, with "active" classed as going for at least one 30-minute walk five days a week. After 180 days, 90% of people in the active group were still alive, compared with 74% in the sedentary group.

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Revolutionary Music Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man Walk and Talk Again – It 'Unlocked the Brain'
2023-04-30, Good News Network
Posted: 2023-07-03 15:34:14
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/music-therapy-helps-paralyzed-man-walk-and-ta...

A patient who was left almost completely paralyzed from a rare disease is now walking and talking again, after a music therapist prescribed mindful listening to his favorite song every night–in this case, a tune by The Carpenters. 71 year-old Ian Palmer was struck down with Guillain-Barr© syndrome last June, forcing him to spend seven months in a hospital where he was unable to walk or speak properly. The rare condition happens when a person's own immune system attacks their body's motor nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. But when Ian was transferred to Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, a state-of-the-art care unit in Lancashire, England, clinicians used music therapy techniques to overcome 'near total paralysis of his body'. His specialist, Clare, taught him mindfulness techniques using his favorite records–and he began listening to The Carpenters each night. Ian was admittedly skeptical, but he can now walk 2 miles a day (3k) and have conversations with his family after the exercises "opened up" his brain. He's never been very musical, so when Sue Ryder first suggested music therapy he said, 'What good is that going to do?' "I'm a typical Northern man, and I thought, 'What's a girl with a guitar going to do for me–get me to the gym.'" "But it really worked. Clare sat me down and explained the process. I learned that music is very unlike other therapies, as it opens up all of the brain."

Note: Watch a profoundly touching documentary about a man who takes on the broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to heal, combat memory loss, and awaken the soul and the deepest parts of humanity. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How a dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist
2023-06-14, BBC News
Posted: 2023-07-03 15:31:29
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230614-how-a-dose-of-mdma-transformed-a-...

Harriet de Wit, a professor of psychiatry and behavioural science at the University of Chicago, was running an experiment on whether the drug MDMA increased the pleasantness of social touch in healthy volunteers. Mike Bremmer, de Wit's research assistant, appeared at her office door with a concerned look on his face. A man named Brendan had filled out a standard questionnaire at the end. Strangely, at the very bottom of the form, Brendan had written in bold letters: "This experience has helped me sort out a debilitating personal issue. Google my name. I now know what I need to do." Brendan had been the leader of ... a notorious white nationalist group. "Go ask him what he means by 'I now know what I need to do,'" [de Wit] instructed Bremmer. As he clarified to Bremmer, love is what he had just realised he had to do. "Love is the most important thing," he told the baffled research assistant. "I conceived of my relationships with other people not as distinct boundaries with distinct entities, but more as we-are-all-one. I realised I'd been fixated on stuff that doesn't really matter. There are moments when I have racist or antisemitic thoughts ... But now I can recognise that those kinds of thought patterns are harming me more than anyone else." While MDMA cannot fix societal-level drivers of prejudice and disconnection, on an individual basis it can make a difference. In certain cases, the drug may even be able to help people see through the fog of discrimination and fear that divides so many of us.

Note: A case study about Brendan was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Read more on the healing potentials of psychedelic medicine, including science journalist Rachel Nuwer's new book, I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Woodworking and Hugs: Inside the Mental Health Movement for Men
2023-06-12, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-06-26 18:45:42
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/mens-sheds-mental-health-woodworking-therapy/

In 2002, Chris Morgan lost his wife to cancer. A British army veteran who had put in 24 years of service as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, he was already struggling with PTSD when she passed away, and the grief from the loss triggered a breakdown. In despair, Morgan contemplated taking his own life. Instead, Morgan retreated to his shed. "It was my woodworking shed that was my safe place. And although I may not have done too much woodworking, it was just being in there that I knew helped," Morgan shared. "In fact, it saved my life." In 2008, he held an impromptu spoon carving class for a group of visiting wounded soldiers. The spontaneous seminar became a weekly workshop, and ultimately evolved into a dedicated permanent woodworking seminar that has been known as Veterans Woodcraft since 2016. Veterans Woodcraft is one of 3,000 so-called Men's Sheds scattered across the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Kenya and South Africa. The concept began in Australia in the 1990s to help tackle isolation and loneliness in predominantly older men. Men's Sheds UK chief officer Charlie Bethel ... says that of all the impacts he's seen from Men's Sheds in his five-year tenure, suicide prevention is the one that stands out the most. In a recent survey of 178 of the UK's 600 Men's Sheds, 25 percent of respondents said they had definitely saved a member's life, and 14 percent felt confident they had. Bethel hopes to set up a further 1,900 Men's Sheds across the UK over the next 10 years.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


With Green Prescriptions, Getting Healthier Is a Walk in the Park
2023-05-29, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-06-18 22:39:38
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/green-prescriptions-health-nature-parks/

Scientific research has long established the healing powers of the outdoors, but now programs promoting regular visits to nature – known as green or nature prescriptions – are nourishing the health of people and parks across the globe. Green prescriptions were pioneered decades ago. In 1982, doctors in Japan began encouraging therapeutic so-called "forest bathing," or Shinrin-yoku, which is now available in 62 certified forest-therapy bases. In New Zealand, green prescriptions ... have become a formal part of the health care system. Canada last year launched its first nationwide green prescription program. Today, 4,000 green prescriptions have been written by over 10,000 physicians ... in all 10 provinces. The benefits of spending time in nature are as established as a centuries-old oak trunk, and include reduced stress and improved sleep, happiness, attention, memory and creativity. In one 2015 study, researchers in Canada found that adding 10 more trees to a city block improved perceived health and well-being as much as increasing people's income by $10,000 or making them seven years younger. Time in nature even impacts the very functioning of our bodies: a study by a professor at University College London found that contact with microbes in the environment strengthens our immune systems, improving the resilience of our skin, airways and guts. 

Note: Read more about the fascinating "hope molecules" that get released when we exercise, which can act as a powerful antidepressant for improved mental health.


'Everything is natural and tastes so good': microfarms push back against 'food apartheid'
2023-06-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-06-18 22:36:23
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/10/local-food-microfarms-equity

In South Los Angeles, Crop Swap LA volunteers and staffers harvested bags of freshly picked produce from the front yard of a residence. "Everything we're growing is nutrient-dense and the food remains in the neighborhood," says Jamiah Hargins, who founded Crop Swap LA in 2018 as a small monthly swap of surplus produce. After spending years in finance and consulting, Hargins decided to create a local food distribution system to address the fact that his neighborhood was a food desert, meaning most residents have little access to healthy food. It's now one of many Bipoc-led groups across the US that are reclaiming their agricultural heritage and redefining the local food movement by growing on traditional farms and unconventional spaces such as yards, medians and vacant lots as a way to increase food security and health in their own communities. There are similar groups run by communities of color across the US. After the Chicora-Cherokee community in North Charleston, South Carolina, was left without a grocery store for more than 10 years, Fresh Future Farm stepped in. Founded in 2014, the non-profit transformed a vacant lot into a flourishing urban farm that grows bananas, sugarcane, meyer lemons, satsuma oranges, collard greens, okra and tomatoes, among other crops. Two years later, it opened a sliding scale grocery store on the same property – the first one in the area in 11 years. The non-profit also teaches home gardening classes, which is inspiring a new crop of home growers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The secret to why exercise is so good for mental health? 'Hope molecules'
2023-05-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-05-22 00:51:27
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/may/04/exercise-mental-health-...

One of the most interesting health research projects of the past decade or so has looked at how exactly exercise makes us feel good. Research shows that there appears to be a clear scientific reason, that we can see at a cellular level. When muscles contract, they secrete chemicals into the bloodstream. Among these chemicals are myokines, which have been referred to as "hope molecules". These small proteins travel to the brain, cross the blood-brain barrier, and act as an antidepressant. They do this by improving our mood, our ability to learn, our capacity for locomotor activity, and protect the brain from the negative effects of ageing. This has been referred to as "muscle-brain cross-talk". They're also responsible for improved metabolism, reduced inflammation, and increased muscle strength. Myokines are not solely responsible for feeling good: exercise also releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin that have a positive impact on our brains. So when you're feeling low, it's tempting to do a Netflix binge, or spend hours scrolling on social media comparing others' lives to yours, and feeling increasingly sad. This is especially true for teenagers. The antidote we know clearly from epidemiology and biology is to just get moving: whether it's joining a team, going for a long walk, or finding a community gym or yoga class. You'll certainly feel more hopeful afterwards.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Inside Too Good To Go’s Mission To Make Unused Food Accessible To All
2023-04-21, Forbes
Posted: 2023-05-22 00:48:18
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenaquino/2023/04/21/inside-too-good-to-gos-m...

Food costs, especially in times of inflation, can be exorbitant. Likewise, getting to a brick-and-mortar grocery store may well be logistically impossible due to health and/or mobility concerns. It’s also true having limited access to food may be detrimental not merely because a person lacks basic sustenance, but also because certain medications work only when taken with food. Without it, those drugs may cease to work as effectively, if at all. Founded in 2016 in Copenhagen by five entrepreneurs, the team at Too Good To Go is trying to curb food insecurity around the globe by fighting food waste. On its website, Too Good To Go (TGTG) reports 2.8 billion tons of food is wasted every year. The app, available on iOS and Android, features a number of partner businesses—bakeries, supermarkets, and restaurants—nearest a user’s location that are giving away so-called “Surprise Bags” of unsold food. Rather than perfectly good food wasting away in a waste basket somewhere, TGTG users can stop by said businesses and pick up the food for themselves. The app’s UI is similar to those of on-demand food delivery services like ... DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates. Users are able to see which places are available, what they may get, and then sign up to pick up the items at a designated time. To date, TGTG boasts 4.2 million users and 9,790 businesses on its platform. Earlier this month, the company ... announced they are carbon neutral and have saved 100 million bags in the last seven years.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Surprising Role of Blind Women in India's Health Care System
2023-05-18, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-05-22 00:43:43
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/blind-women-detect-breast-cancer-india/

On a sunny March morning in Bengaluru, Ayesha Banu and Noorunnisa walk up to the stage of Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology. Their white canes folded and held aside, they speak to a packed hall of students and teachers about their work as Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs). "We assist doctors in detecting the early signs of breast cancer in women," Banu speaks into the mic. "Using the first two fingers of both hands, we examine women's breasts for abnormalities." She explains that blind women like herself and Noorunnisa are especially well-suited to this profession because of the "high tactile sense in our fingertips, which helps us find tiny lumps in the breast." Tactile breast examinations, or TBEs, are clinical breast examinations specially designed for blind women trained as MTEs. Employing MTEs for routine breast cancer screening – and reaching women in their communities and workplaces – could help in the early detection of cancer and save lives, says Dr. Poovamma CU, the breast specialist under whom Banu and Noorunnisa work. Studies prove that in the absence of sight, blind people's brains can develop a heightened sense of touch, as well as hearing. Through the MTE training, a woman with vision impairment is able to empower another woman, by offering her preventive health care. In a recent Indian study where two MTEs conducted TBEs on 1,338 women, their success rate of detecting malignant cancers was over 78 percent, and the miss rate, only one percent.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.


Local communities are buying medical debt for pennies on the dollar–and freeing American families from the threat of bankruptcy
2023-03-10, Fortune
Posted: 2023-05-15 15:30:03
https://fortune.com/2023/03/10/local-communities-are-buying-medical-debt-for-...

No one chooses medical debt. Many Americans who fall ill have no choice but to rack up debt in order to stay healthy or, in some cases, stay alive. For the underinsured and uninsured, incurring debt is inevitable. In a June 2022 survey, 40% percent of adults said they were burdened with medical debt. But progress on this issue is already underway. A recent report found that medical debt has fallen by almost 18% since 2020. This change is no coincidence, rather it points to the real impact that relief programs ... have had on everyday Americans. One such program comes out of my city of Toledo, Ohio. In November, Toledo City Council passed a community-scale medical debt relief initiative in partnership with Lucas County. We partnered with the national charity RIP Medical Debt and devoted $800,000 of Toledo’s ARPA funds (and $800,000 of the matched commitment from Lucas county) to medical debt relief. The way it works is simple: RIP Medical Debt purchases debt for pennies on the dollar and then relieves the debt. Our groundbreaking program will wipe out as much as $240 million in medical debt for as many as 41,000 people at a cost of only $1.6 million. There are no administrative hurdles for community members to overcome. Instead, relief recipients are simply sent a letter informing them their debt has been canceled. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) would support the Toledo model for medical debt relief being adopted in their community, including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. 

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Seal’s mystery ability to tolerate toxic metal could aid medical research, say scientists
2023-04-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-05-08 11:51:23
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/29/seals-mystery-ability-to-...

One of the world’s most isolated aquatic mammals, Arctocephalus philippii, can tolerate high levels of cadmium, as well as other metallic pollutants, without suffering ill effects. A. philippii is the second smallest species of fur seal and lives only on the Juan Fernández archipelago and one or two nearby islands in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles off the coast of Chile. By the 19th century, the species had disappeared and was believed to be extinct until, in the 1960s, a small colony was found in a cave on the island. Since then, the Juan Fernández seal, which has become a protected species, has slowly recovered and has a population of around 80,000. “We collected samples of their faeces and found they contained extremely high levels of cadmium and other elements such as mercury,” said Constanza Toro-Valdivieso of Cambridge University’s conservation research institute. “The discovery was very surprising,” she said. “Cadmium is poisonous to mammals but somehow these seals were processing it and passing it through their digestive systems and seem to be suffering little harm in the process.” High levels were found not only in its faeces but in the bones of seals that had died of natural causes. The researchers also found high levels of silicon in their bones, which may be offsetting the impact of cadmium, they suggest. “The discovery that these animals appear to tolerate high levels of cadmium in their bodies has important medical implications,” said Toro-Valdivieso. “These animals have a lot to tell us.”

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Magnetic Crystals, Guides for Animals, Found in Humans
1992-05-12, New York Times
Posted: 2023-04-30 16:41:04
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/12/science/magnetic-crystals-guides-for-anima...

An intriguing claim that human brain cells possess crystals of a highly magnetic mineral known as magnetite was described today by Dr. Joseph Kirschvink, a professor at the California Institute of Technology. The 38-year-old geobiologist said he believed that magnetite crystals enabled animals from bees to whales to navigate by using the earth's magnetic field. He said he doubted that they supported any sensory capability in humans, although he suspected that they might account for the possible influence of strong electromagnetic fields on human health. That magnetite, one of the hardest metals on earth, is synthesized by the human brain "is sure to astound most scientists," Dr. Kirschvink said, but what it is doing there is a "total mystery." It might be a vestige from evolution and serve no purpose, he said. Or it could play a role in biology, explaining why electromagnetic fields have been associated with brain cancer and leukemia and why certain odd blips, called spin echoes, show up on magnetic resonance images of the brain. Each human brain on average contains seven billion particles of magnetite, weighing a total of one-millionth of an ounce. Magnetite interacts over a million times more strongly with external magnetic fields than any other biological material, Dr. Kirschvink said, including the iron in red blood cells. If only one cell in a million contains magnetite, he said, magnetic fields could exert an effect on the tissue.

Note: Robert O. Becker’s classic book “The Body Electric” presents amazing scientific experiments showing the importance of electrical fields and magnetic crystals in the human body. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Recovery high schools help kids heal from an addiction and build a future
2023-04-04, NPR
Posted: 2023-04-27 20:04:36
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/04/04/1167856499/recovery-high...

Every weekday at 5280 High School in Denver starts the same way. Students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction gather on the steps of the school's indoor auditorium to discuss a topic chosen by staff members. One recent morning, they talked about mental health and sobriety. The students attend Colorado's only recovery high school — one of 43 nationwide. These schools are designed for students who are recovering from substance use disorder and might also be dealing with related mental health disorders. Compared with their peers at regular schools who have gone through treatment, recovery high school students have better attendance and are more likely to stay sober, and their graduation rate is at least 21% higher, according to one study. Recovery high schools often weave components of treatment into the school day — activities like 5280's daily recovery program meeting. In the afternoon, the school offers wellness electives such as spiritual principles and journaling. The school also employs a director of recovery and recovery coach to work with and counsel the students individually. "The No. 1 step is just letting them know out of the gate, no matter what's going on, that we love them," said Brittany Kitchens, the school's recovery coach. "We are here for them." Kitchens teaches students how to navigate recovery and regulate their emotions. She likens herself to a hall monitor, constantly checking in with students and looking for changes in behavior.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The trauma doctor: Gabor Maté on happiness, hope and how to heal our deepest wounds
2023-04-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-04-17 13:38:34
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2023/apr/12/the-trauma-doctor-gabor-...

[Gabor] Maté was born in January 1944; in May of that year, the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz began. By the end of the Holocaust, 565,000 Hungarian Jews had been murdered, Maté’s maternal grandparents among them. When he was 11 months old, his mother sent him with a stranger to be cared for by his aunt. Maté says trauma, from the Greek for “wound”, “is not what happens to you; it is what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. It is not the blow on the head, but the concussion I get.” That, he says, is the good news. “If my trauma was that my mother gave me to a stranger ... that will never not have happened. But if the wound was that I decided as a result that I wasn’t worthwhile as a human being, I wasn’t lovable, that’s a wound that can heal at any time.” There can be two types of wound, he says. “There’s the capital-T traumatic events,” which include things like being abused as a child and the loss of a parent. Then there are “small-T traumas”. “You can wound a kid not only by doing bad things to them, but by also not meeting their needs,” he says. Maté has a heightened level of compassion. For him, the real villain is our culture. Many of the plights of modern society are, he says, natural responses to an unhealthy culture. Take addiction. His view is that there is no such thing as an “addictive personality”. Nor is addiction a disease. His mantra is: “Don’t ask why the addiction, ask why the pain. Addiction is a normal response to trauma.”

Note: The Wisdom of Trauma is a powerful film that travels alongside Dr. Gabor Maté in his quest to discover the connection between illness, addiction, trauma, and society. Deeply touching and captivating in its diverse portrayal of real human stories, the film also provides a new vision of a trauma-informed society that seeks to “understand the sources from which troubling behaviors and diseases spring in the wounded human soul.” Anyone can watch this donation-optional film at the above link.


What Everyone Should Know About the Brain’s Ability to Heal
2022-10-25, New York Times
Posted: 2023-04-17 13:36:52
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/25/opinion/brain-stroke-recovery-fetterman.html

Our brains are made up of billions of cells that work together to create our every ability. Wipe out those cells, through a stroke or other brain trauma, and you may no longer be able to read, but you might still be able to speak, sing or write. It’s all about where the brain is damaged — which systems of cells are traumatized and which are not. The three-pound mass of neurological tissue that we call the brain has the power not only to create every ability we have but also to manifest our perception of reality. Our brains have a two-pronged defense mechanism that kicks in when brain trauma occurs. Not only are we able to grow some new neurons — a process called neurogenesis — especially in the sites where physical trauma has occurred, our brain cells are capable of neuroplasticity, which means they can rearrange which other neurons they are in communication with. That’s why, whenever I meet someone who has experienced a brain trauma of any sort, I don’t focus on what abilities that person has lost, but rather I marvel at what insights that person might have gained because of the experience. Few things have greater impact on how people choose to live their lives than neurological trauma or near-death experiences. And when we find ourselves to be neurologically impaired, we become vulnerable and need others to support us rather than criticize or judge us. I became a much more compassionate and empathetic person following my stroke and recovery. Perhaps I am not the only one.

Note: The above was written by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist and the author of "My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Mindfulness better than CBT for treating depression, study finds
2023-03-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-04-17 13:35:21
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/27/mindfulness-better-than-cbt-f...

Practising mindfulness is much better than taking part in talking therapies at helping people recover from depression, a British study has found. People who used a mindfulness self-help book for eight weeks and had six sessions with a counsellor experienced a 17.5% greater improvement in recovery from depressive symptoms than those who underwent cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) while being supported by a mental health practitioner. Their results have been published in JAMA Psychiatry. The NHS says mindfulness involves people paying attention to “what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment” and “the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment” as well as being aware of their thoughts and feelings as they happen. People using mindfulness in the LIGHTMind 2 trial spent eight weeks following the advice in The Mindful Way Workbook, which helps them build up their mindfulness skills by guiding them on what they should do every day in order to be aware of their thoughts, feelings and physical sensations in a non-judgmental way. Doing that helps people address some of the behaviours that can maintain feelings of depression. They also had six one-to-one half-hour “support sessions” on the telephone with a therapist discussing their progress, experience of practising mindfulness and asking questions. Mindfulness-based treatment is also a cheaper way of tackling depression because people using it needed on average £526 less of subsequent treatment.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How mud boosts your immune system
2022-10-10, BBC News
Posted: 2023-03-27 14:09:27
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220929-how-outdoor-play-boosts-kids-immu...

"Don't get dirty!" was once a constant family refrain, as parents despairingly watched their children spoil their best clothes. Today, many parents may secretly wish their children had the chance to pick up a bit of grime. According to recent research, the dirt outside is teaming with friendly microorganisms that can train the immune system and build resilience to a range of illnesses, including allergies, asthma and even depression and anxiety. Certain natural materials, such as soil and mud ... contain surprisingly powerful microorganisms whose positive impact on children's health we are only beginning to fully understand. Our brains evolved in natural landscapes, and our perceptual systems are particularly well suited to wild outdoor spaces. Supporting this theory, one study from 2009 found that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were better able to concentrate following a 20-minute walk in the park, compared to a 20-minute walk on the streets of a well-kept urban area. People who grow up on farms are generally less likely to develop asthma, allergies, or auto-immune disorders like Crohn's disease [due to] their childhood exposure to a more diverse range of organisms in the rural environment. Michele Antonelli, a doctor from Italy ... has researched the ways that mud therapies can influence health. People with [skin] disorders ... seem to have an impoverished community of organisms. "These microorganisms can play a major role in many major chronic diseases," he says.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Your Brain Could Be Controlling How Sick You Get—And How You Recover
2023-02-27, Scientific American
Posted: 2023-03-27 14:07:08
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-brain-could-be-controlling-ho...

Mental states can have a profound impact on how ill we get — and how well we recover. Understanding this could help to boost the placebo effect, destroy cancers, enhance responses to vaccination and even re-evaluate illnesses that, for centuries, have been dismissed as being psychologically driven. Neuroscientist Catherine Dulac and her team at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have pinpointed neurons in an area called the hypothalamus that control symptoms including fever, warmth-seeking and loss of appetite in response to infection. “Most people probably assume that when you feel sick, it’s because the bacteria or viruses are messing up your body,” she says. But her team demonstrated that activating these neurons could generate symptoms of sickness even in the absence of a pathogen. An open question, Dulac adds, is whether these hypothalamic neurons can be activated by triggers other than pathogens, such as chronic inflammation. The insula ... is involved in processing emotion and bodily sensations. A 2021 study ... found that neurons in the insula store memories of past bouts of gut inflammation — and that stimulating those brain cells reactivated the immune response. Such a reaction might prime the body to fight potential threats. But these reactions could also backfire. This could be the case for certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, that can be exacerbated by negative psychological states.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Europe's unique trials in food 'social security’
2023-03-21, BBC News
Posted: 2023-03-27 14:04:13
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230321-cost-of-living-europes-trials-in-...

As food prices rise around the world and access to healthy nutrition falls, trials in France and Belgium are experimenting with a unique "social security" for food. The affordability of food is a growing concern for increasing numbers of households worldwide as people struggle to cope with the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation. With some forced to cut back on food to meet other essential expenses, food insecurity is on the rise around the world. The idea of social security for food might sound far-fetched. But through recently launched projects in Montpellier in France and Brussels in Belgium, burgeoning collectives of NGOs, farmers, researchers and citizens are experimenting with the idea that quality, nutritious and organic food should be accessible to everyone – regardless of income. "Eating healthy and having access to quality food is expensive and only a minority of the population can afford to do so," says Margherita Via, project manager at BEES Coop. Inspired by universal healthcare systems such as those in France and Belgium, civil society groups have proposed establishing a new branch of social security, under which each citizen would receive a monthly allowance enabling them to buy food meeting certain environmental and ethical criteria. At its heart, the idea is about moving away from food as a commodity. "A total overhaul of [the agro-industrial food] system based on the right to food is necessary," says agronomist Mathieu Dalmais, who has led the movement since its inception.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


This optometrist-on-wheels helps kids see clearly for the first time
2019-10-10, PBS
Posted: 2023-02-06 12:13:51
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/this-optometrist-on-wheels-helps-kids-see...

Schools and nonprofits are trying to address what they see as a growing problem, as more children need eyeglasses but can’t afford them. “Kids are getting nearsighted from close work and machines, electronic devices,” [Dr. Robert Abel] said. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates half of the world’s population will be nearsighted, or myopic, by 2049, with children being the most at risk. In Maryland’s Kent County Public Schools, a mobile vision clinic has helped to ensure more children have access to free eye exams, glasses. The national organization works with local funding partners, states and ophthalmologists to offer free eye care to school children in need. Last November, the nonprofit Vision to Learn made a stop at Galena Elementary. One by one, students boarded a converted 151-square-foot Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, where an optometrist and optician conducted eye exams inside. Children who needed glasses then selected from a choice of 30 frames. A few weeks later, the Vision to Learn van returned to hand out the glasses at a school assembly. The glasses were given out like awards. That way, educators and health providers hoped to combat any stigma of wearing glasses. Vision to Learn has expanded to 14 states, each with their own corresponding mobile clinic van. Other organizations, like OnSight’s “Vision Van” in New York and VSP Global’s “Eyes of Hope” mobile clinic, headquartered in California, have taken up the same cause in an effort to improve student outcomes.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


School lunch goes farm-to-table for some California students
2023-01-24, PBS
Posted: 2023-01-29 20:45:00
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/school-lunch-goes-farm-to-table-for-so...

The food served at the suburban San Francisco school system, Mount Diablo Unified, reflects a trend away from mass-produced, reheated meals. Its lunch menus are filled with California-grown fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and recipes that defy the stereotype of inedible school food. Among American schoolchildren, these students are in the lucky minority. Making fresh meals requires significant investment and, in many areas, an overhaul of how school kitchens have operated for decades. What’s more, federal money to boost lunch budgets has declined. The government last year ended a pandemic-era program offering free school meals to everyone. A few states, such as California, have been paying to keep meals free for all students, but most states went back to charging all but the neediest kids for meals. Increases in money from California’s state government have made it possible for Mount Diablo to buy fresher local ingredients and hire the chef, Josh Gjersand, a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants. Local farms, bakers, creameries and fishermen now supply most ingredients to the district, which serves 30,000 students from wealthy and low-income communities east of San Francisco. Making food from scratch isn’t just healthier, it’s cheaper, many school nutrition directors say. In 2021, California committed to spending $650 million annually to supplement federal meal reimbursements — money for food, staff, new equipment and other upgrades.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


In Baltimore, Healing Trauma Is Now Official Policy
2022-12-02, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-01-03 00:31:24
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/in-baltimore-healing-trauma-is-now-official...

In the year since Donna Bruce started working at the Baltimore public library’s Penn North branch, she has connected more than 400 visitors to housing programs, food assistance and substance abuse recovery options — and saved a man from dying of a drug overdose by administering the emergency treatment Narcan. Poverty is pervasive in the neighborhoods around the Penn North library, and many people come in simply looking for heat or shelter. Bruce is leading a team of “peer navigators” in the library system trained to provide trauma-informed engagement and support to the public. All navigators have personal experience with mental health challenges or substance abuse disorders and act as role models in the community. Peer Navigators is the first city agency program that owes part of its origin story to Baltimore’s 2020 Elijah Cummings Healing City Act. The goal of the groundbreaking legislation is to help departments reckon with and change policies that have caused — and continue to cause — trauma, while charting a new path rooted in healing. The act mandates that city employees receive training, to gain awareness and learn how to help those who have been harmed. At the same time, agency leaders must evaluate their practices and procedures to determine if they are causing trauma and how to change those that are to better serve Baltimore’s communities. Evidence shows the approach can improve social environments, decrease violence, and reduce other negative encounters.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


In Barcelona, Kids Bike to School in Large, Choreographed Herds
2022-11-07, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2022-12-05 10:11:43
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/students-ditch-school-buses-for-bicycles-in...

With breakfast finished and backpacks prepped for the day, children across Spain’s Barcelona province strap on their helmets and, at around 8 a.m., head to school not by bus or car, but in a critical mass of bikes dubbed “bicibús.” As with traditional bus lines, each bicibús route has stops where other cycling students can join along the way. Parents, teachers and other volunteer adults ride, too, to ensure the kids’ safety. Bicibús is just a couple years old, but already more than 1,200 kids pedal 90-plus routes to more than 70 schools across 25 cities in Catalonia. (Barcelona is one of four provinces in the region, in addition to being a major city.) Biking in groups increases awareness of riders on the road, especially where dedicated infrastructure is lacking. And families around the world, from Portland, Oregon to Edinburgh, Scotland, have embraced this commuting alternative. “The idea for bicibús came from the mix of my two passions: the bike and education,” says Helena Vilardell, the elementary school teacher who started bicibús in February 2020. She subsequently launched the nonprofit Canvis en Cadena (“change in chain”) to widely promote bicycles as a healthier, more sustainable commute for all. Fewer gas-powered vehicles on the road decreases pollutants that contribute to unhealthy air. “I have been working as a teacher for many years. The children in my class who arrive by bike are more active during the first hours, more attentive and participatory,” [Vilardell] says.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A ‘game-changer’ for millions of Americans: You can now buy hearing aids over the counter
2022-10-17, CNN News
Posted: 2022-11-14 23:31:43
https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/17/health/over-the-counter-hearing-aids-available...

For the first time, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss in the US will be able to buy over-the-counter hearing aids. Those who are under 18 or who have severe hearing loss will still need a prescription. In July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order meant to promote competition; it encouraged the US Food and Drug Administration allow over-the-counter, prescription-free hearing aids, and the FDA announced the long-awaited rule change in August. The move ushers in options that should be cheaper and possibly even better. Now, instead of getting a prescription and having a custom fitting with a hearing health professional, adults can buy hearing aids directly from a store or online. Some doctors estimate that 90% of the population with hearing loss could benefit from these over-the-counter devices. Experts say the move is a “game-changer.” The number of people with hearing loss is substantial. About 1 in 8 people in the US ages 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears. About a quarter of people 65 to 74 have hearing loss. On average, people spend at least $4,000 out of pocket for devices for both ears, according to a 2020 study published in the medical journal JAMA. Prices can vary: Large retailers may offer a pair for about $1,400, but some can cost as much as $6,000 per ear. Until now, five companies have controlled 90% of the global marketplace for hearing aids. That kind of consolidation meant there was little price competition.

Note: Why were these not available over the counter before? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


U.S. military suicides drop as leaders push mental health programs
2022-10-20, PBS/Associated Press
Posted: 2022-11-08 14:46:24
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/u-s-military-suicides-drop-as-leaders-pus...

Suicides across the active duty U.S. military decreased over the past 18 months, driven by sharp drops in the Air Force and Marine Corps last year and a similar decline among Army soldiers during the first six months of this year, according to a new Pentagon report. The numbers show a dramatic reversal of what has been a fairly steady increase in recent years. The shift follows increased attention by senior military leaders and an array of new programs aimed at addressing what has been a persistent problem in all the services. The numbers provide a glimmer of hope that some of the recent changes — which range from required counseling visits to stress relief education and recreational outings — may be working. According to the data, the number of suicides in the Air Force and Marine Corp dropped by more than 30 percent in 2021 compared with 2020, and the Navy saw a 10 percent decline. The Army saw a similar 30 percent decrease during the first six months of this year, compared with the same time period last year. The National Guard and the Reserves both saw a small dip in suicides, from 121 in 2020 to 119 in 2021. And there were also fewer Guard deaths in the first half of 2022, compared with last year. The Guard has worked over the last year to reduce suicides through outreach and other changes, including policies to destigmatize getting mental health help and a program that provides firearms locks for service members who keep weapons at home.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


4-Day Workweek Brings No Loss of Productivity, Companies in Experiment Say
2022-09-22, New York Times
Posted: 2022-10-10 13:03:47
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/22/business/four-day-work-week-uk.html

Most of the companies participating in a four-day workweek pilot program in Britain said they had seen no loss of productivity during the experiment, and in some cases had seen a significant improvement, according to a survey of participants. Nearly halfway into the six-month trial, in which employees at 73 companies get a paid day off weekly, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they were “likely” or “extremely likely” to consider continuing the four-day workweek beyond the end of the trial in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved. Remarkably, six companies said productivity had significantly improved. Talk of a four-day workweek has been around for decades. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon said he foresaw it in the “not too distant future,” though it has not materialized on any large scale. But changes in the workplace over the coronavirus pandemic around remote and hybrid work have given momentum to questions about other aspects of work. Are we working five days a week just because we have done it that way for more than a century, or is it really the best way? More than 3,300 workers in banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries in Britain are taking part in the pilot, which is one of the largest studies to date. Experiments similar to the one conducted in Britain are being conducted ... in the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Belgium to offer employees four-day working week
2022-02-16, Washington Post
Posted: 2022-10-10 13:02:27
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/16/belgium-four-day-work-week/

Belgium is the latest country to announce plans to offer employees the option to request a four-day workweek, as the government seeks to boost flexibility in the workplace amid the coronavirus crisis after what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said had been two “difficult years.” The overhaul of the country’s labor laws will give workers more freedom — and the right to ignore their bosses and work emails after working hours, another growing trend in the coronavirus era. The agreement, which was struck by the seven-party coalition federal government, aims “to be able to make people and businesses stronger,” De Croo said during a news conference Tuesday, adding that the country was seeking to become “more innovative, sustainable and digital.” De Croo said his administration aims to incentivize more people to work. The employment rate in Belgium stood at roughly 71 percent at the end of last year, and the government hopes to increase that proportion to 80 percent by 2030. If trade unions agree, employees can opt to work for a maximum of 10 hours a day to accrue hours that will help them earn a three-day weekend. Previously, workdays were capped at eight hours. They can also choose to work more during one week and less the next. Employees will not be paid any less, and the decision will be theirs to make. “This has to be done at the request of the employee, with the employer giving solid reasons for any refusal,” Labor Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Humour and healthcare: how medical clowns are making an impact
2022-06-30, Kinder
Posted: 2022-08-08 17:46:29
https://kinder.world/articles/solutions/humour-and-healthcare-how-medical-clo...

Robin Williams brought a lot of great characters to life on screen. But it’s his role as the titular character in the award nominated 1998 biographical film Patch Adams that helped bring attention to a (then) relatively young therapeutic field: medical clowning. In early 19th century France, a famous clown trio by the name of “the Fratellini Brothers” began visiting hospitalised children to improve their moods. It wasn’t until 1986 when the presence of professional clowns as members of hospital health care teams started. This happened when professional clown Michael Christensen of ‘Big Apple Circus’ founded ‘Big Apple Circus Clown Care’ in New York; a program with the aim of preparing professional clowns to use humour and clowning skills in visits to hospitals to assist in patient healing. By parodying the work of medical doctors, “clown doctors” made young patients less afraid of what the doctors were doing. These clowns were able to bring smiles and laughter to patients using their circus skills, tricks, and improvisation. Since [then], other clown care units have been formed across the United States ... and beyond. In 2020 there were at least 40 Healthcare Clowning Organisations operating in 21 countries in Europe. The aim of the medical clown goes beyond humour. Clown doctors have therapeutic relationships with patients and on top of reducing the negative effects associated with illness, medical clowns contribute to patients' well-being and help create a lighter atmosphere in the hospital.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


What the ‘Active Grandparent Hypothesis’ Can Tell Us About Aging Well
2022-02-02, New York Times
Posted: 2022-08-01 14:55:29
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/well/move/aging-exercise-grandparents.html

Why is physical activity so good for us as we age? According to a novel new theory about exercise, evolution and aging, the answer lies, in part, in our ancestral need for grandparents. The theory, called the “Active Grandparent Hypothesis” and detailed in a recent editorial in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that in the early days of our species, hunter-gatherers who lived past their childbearing years could pitch in and provide extra sustenance and succor to their grandchildren, helping those descendants survive. The theory also makes the case that it was physical activity that helped hunter-gatherers survive long enough to become grandparents — an idea that has potential relevance for us today, because it may explain why exercise is good for us in the first place. Early humans had to move around often to hunt for food, the thinking goes, and those who moved the most and found the most food were likeliest to survive. Over eons, this process led to the selection of genes that were optimized by plentiful physical activity. Evolution favored the most active tribespeople, who tended to live the longest and could then step in to help with the grandchildren, furthering active families’ survival. In other words, exercise is good for us ... because long ago, the youngest and most vulnerable humans needed grandparents, and those grandparents needed to be vigorous and mobile to help keep the grandkids nourished.

Note: Learn more about the importance of grandparents in this Smithsonian article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Joy Workout
2022-05-24, New York Times
Posted: 2022-07-04 12:52:24
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/24/well/move/joy-workout-exercises-happiness....

It’s no secret that exercise, even in small doses, can improve your mood. Researchers even have a name for it: the feel-better effect. And while any physical activity — a walk, a swim, a bit of yoga — can give you an emotional boost, we wanted to create a short workout video specifically designed to make people happy. What would a “joy workout” look like? I’m a psychologist fascinated by the science of emotion. I’ve also taught group exercise classes for more than 20 years. To design a happiness workout, I turned to the research I leverage in those classes, to maximize the joy people get from moving their bodies. Imagine fans erupting when their team clinches a playoff spot. Researchers have identified several movements like this that are recognizable in many cultures as inspired by joy: reaching your arms up; swaying from side to side, like concertgoers losing themselves in the music; other rhythmic movements, such as bouncing to a beat; or taking up more space, like dancers spinning, arms outstretched. These physical actions don’t just express a feeling of joy — research shows they can also elicit it. The resulting eight and a half–minute Joy Workout lets you test these effects yourself. It leads you through six joy moves: reach, sway, bounce, shake, jump for joy and one I named “celebrate” that looks like tossing confetti in the air. I based these moves on research and on the movements that produce the most joy in my classes, among people of all ages and abilities.

Note: Watch a video of the the Joy Workout at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A Cancer Trial’s Unexpected Result: Remission in Every Patient
2022-06-05, New York Times
Posted: 2022-06-20 12:21:15
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/05/health/rectal-cancer-checkpoint-inhibitor....

It was a small trial, just 18 rectal cancer patients, every one of whom took the same drug. But the results were astonishing. The cancer vanished in every single patient, undetectable by physical exam, endoscopy, PET scans or M.R.I. scans. Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an author of a paper published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the results ... said he knew of no other study in which a treatment completely obliterated a cancer in every patient. “I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” Dr. Diaz said. Dr. Alan P. Venook, a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved with the study, said he also thought this was a first. A complete remission in every single patient is “unheard-of,” he said. These rectal cancer patients had faced grueling treatments — chemotherapy, radiation and, most likely, life-altering surgery that could result in bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction. Some would need colostomy bags. They entered the study thinking that, when it was over, they would have to undergo those procedures because no one really expected their tumors to disappear. But they got a surprise: No further treatment was necessary. “There were a lot of happy tears,” said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the paper. Another surprise, Dr. Venook added, was that none of the patients had clinically significant complications.

Note: Will this amazing treatment be suppressed, like so many others before it? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


From seawater to drinking water, with the push of a button
2022-04-28, MIT News
Posted: 2022-05-17 00:46:11
https://news.mit.edu/2022/portable-desalination-drinking-water-0428

MIT researchers have developed a portable desalination unit, weighing less than 10 kilograms, that can remove particles and salts to generate drinking water. The suitcase-sized device, which requires less power to operate than a cell phone charger, can also be driven by a small, portable solar panel, which can be purchased online for around $50. It automatically generates drinking water that exceeds World Health Organization quality standards. The technology is packaged into a user-friendly device that runs with the push of one button. Unlike other portable desalination units that require water to pass through filters, this device utilizes electrical power to remove particles from drinking water. Eliminating the need for replacement filters greatly reduces the long-term maintenance requirements. This could enable the unit to be deployed in remote and severely resource-limited areas, such as communities on small islands or aboard seafaring cargo ships. It could also be used to aid refugees fleeing natural disasters or by soldiers carrying out long-term military operations. “This is really the culmination of a 10-year journey that I and my group have been on. We worked for years on the physics behind individual desalination processes, but pushing all those advances into a box, building a system, and demonstrating it in the ocean, that was a really meaningful and rewarding experience for me,” says senior author Jongyoon Han, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of biological engineering.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Cancer Without Chemotherapy: ‘A Totally Different World’
2021-09-27, New York Times
Posted: 2022-04-04 15:13:32
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/health/breast-cancer-chemotherapy-lung.html

Dr. Seema Doshi was shocked and terrified when she found a lump in her breast that was eventually confirmed to be cancerous. “That rocked my world,” said Dr. Doshi, a dermatologist in private practice. “I thought, ‘That’s it. I will have to do chemotherapy.’” She was wrong. Dr. Doshi was the beneficiary of a quiet revolution in breast cancer treatment, a slow chipping away at the number of people for whom chemotherapy is recommended. Chemotherapy for decades was considered “the rule, the dogma,” for treating breast cancer and other cancers, said Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, a breast cancer specialist. But data from a variety of sources offers some confirmation of what many oncologists say anecdotally — the method is on the wane for many cancer patients. Genetic tests can now reveal whether chemotherapy would be beneficial. For many there are better options with an ever-expanding array of drugs, including estrogen blockers and drugs that destroy cancers by attacking specific proteins on the surface of tumors. And there is a growing willingness among oncologists to scale back unhelpful treatments. The result spares thousands each year from the dreaded chemotherapy treatment, with its accompanying hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and potential to cause permanent damage to the heart and to nerves in the hands and feet. The diminution of chemotherapy treatment is happening for some other cancers, too, including lung cancer.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Remote Bolivian tribe has lowest dementia rates worldwide
2022-03-18, Optimist Daily
Posted: 2022-03-27 18:39:21
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2022/03/remote-bolivian-tribe-has-lowest-dement...

A remote and unique indigenous population in the Bolivian Amazon called the Tsimane (pronounced chee-MAH-nay) sparked the interest of scientists when they were found to show almost no cases of age-related heart disease. Since then, scientists have carried out various studies into the Tsimane community due to their exceptional health even in old age. In 2017, researchers from The Tsimane Health and Life History Project were astonished to find that the elderly Tsimane experienced unusually low levels of vascular aging, and a study in The Lancet reported that the average 80-year-old Tsimane adult demonstrated the same vascular age as a 55-year-old American. Researchers are now looking into the brain health of the Tsimane community, in particular the prevalence of dementia. Only five cases of dementia were detected, which equates to about one percent of the population studied—significantly below the 11 percent of the equivalent American population known to be living with dementia. Researchers also studied 169 individuals hailing from the Moseten community, a community genetically and linguistically similar to the Tsimane. The Moseten also showed very low levels of dementia, even though they lived in closer proximity to modern Bolivian society. “Something about the pre-industrial subsistence lifestyle appears to protect older Tsimane and Moseten from dementia,” says Margaret Gatz, lead author of the study.

Note: The profoundly inspiring documentary “Alive Inside” presents the astonishing experiences of elderly individuals with severe dementia who are revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music that meant something to them in their earlier years. Featuring experts including renowned neurologist/best-selling author Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, this beautiful portrait of senile patients coming back to life was the winner of Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.


Alzheimer's Disease: Music Brings Patients 'Back to Life'
2012-04-11, ABC News
Posted: 2022-03-14 17:27:13
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/AlzheimersCommunity/alzheimers-disease-music-br...

Henry Dryer sits slumped over the tray attached to his wheelchair. He doesn't speak, and rarely moves, until a nursing home worker puts his headphones on. Then Dryer's feet start to shuffle, his folded arms rock back and forth, and he sings out loud in perfect sync with his favorite songs. "I feel a band of love, dreams," said Dryer, 92, who has dementia. "It gives me the feeling of love, romance!" Henry is one of seven patients profiled in the documentary "Alive Inside," a heartwarming look at the power of music to help those in nursing homes. "There are a million and a half people in nursing homes in this country," director Michael Rossato-Bennett told ABC News. "When I saw what happened to Henry, whenever you see a human being awaken like that, it touches something deep inside you." Rossato-Bennett said he took on the documentary project to promote Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization that brings iPods with personalized music to dementia patients in nursing home care. "When I end up in a nursing home, I'll want to have my music with me," said Dan Cohen, executive director of Music & Memory. "There aren't many things in nursing homes that are personally meaningful activities. Here's the one easy thing that has a significant impact." Cohen said the personalized playlists, chosen by loved ones, make patients light up. "They're more alert, more attentive, more cooperative, more engaged," he said. "Even if they can't recognize loved ones and they've stopped speaking, they hear music and they come alive."

Note: Don’t miss this profoundly touching and inspiring documentary available here. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Alive Inside documentary shows the healing power of music
2012-04-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-03-06 22:50:23
https://www.theguardian.com/world/us-news-blog/2012/apr/12/alive-inside-docum...

Henry Dryer, 92, is one of seven patients profiled in the documentary Alive Inside, a look at the power of music to help those with Alzheimer's. A clip of Dryer, who suffers from dementia, appears in an extraordinarily moving rough cut of the documentary that went up online this week. In the clip, which has been viewed 3 million times already, Dryer is largely mute and slumped over. He does not recognize his own daughter. But when a caregiver places a pair [of] headphones on him, he undergoes an astonishing transformation. His face, formerly slack and inert, lights up. His eyes beam, and he sways in his chair, keening along to the music of his youth. The effect lasts even after the headphones are removed. "I'm crazy about music," Dryer says. "I guess Cab Calloway was my number one band guy." Music "gives me the feeling of love", Dryer says. Author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who has written extensively about the effects of music on the human brain, watches Dryer. "In some sense, Henry is restored to himself. He remembers who he is. He has reaquired his identity for a while through the power of music," Sacks says in the Alive Inside clip. "There are a million and a half people in nursing homes in this country," Alive Inside director Michael Rossato-Bennett told ABC News. "When I saw what happened to Henry, whenever you see a human being awaken like that, it touches something deep inside you."

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The Power of Placebos
2022-02-12, Daily Good
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:02:26
https://www.dailygood.org/story/2889/the-power-of-placebos-elissa-h-patterson...

Did you ever feel your own shoulders relax when you saw a friend receive a shoulder massage? For those of you who said “yes,” congratulations, your brain is using its power to create a “placebo effect.” For those who said “no,” you’re not alone, but thankfully, the brain is trainable. Since the 1800s, the word placebo has been used to refer to a fake treatment, meaning one that does not contain any active, physical substance. Today, placebos play a crucial role in medical studies in which some participants are given the treatment containing the active ingredients of the medicine, and others are given a placebo. These types of studies help tell researchers which medicines are effective, and how effective they are. Surprisingly, however, in some areas of medicine, placebos themselves provide patients with clinical improvement. Research suggests that the placebo effect is caused by positive expectations, the provider-patient relationship and the rituals around receiving medical care. Depression, pain, fatigue, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and even osteoarthritis of the knee are just a few of the conditions that respond positively to placebos. In addition to the ever-increasing body of evidence surrounding their effectiveness, placebos offer multiple benefits. They have no side effects. They are cheap. They are not addictive. They provide hope when there might not be a specific chemically active treatment available. They mobilize a person’s own ability to heal through multiple pathways.

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Rapper Logic's
2021-12-15, CBS News
Posted: 2022-01-03 10:01:10
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/logic-1-800-273-8255-song-suicide-prevention/

Four years ago, rapper Logic released his hit song "1-800-273-8255" — a reference to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — in hopes of helping others. A new study released this week found it did just that: researchers say the song potentially helped saved hundreds of lives. The study, published Monday in the BMJ, found almost 10,000 calls went to the Lifeline — a 6.9% increase over the expected number — during 34 days in 2017 and 2018 when the song was receiving heightened public attention. And an estimated 245 fewer suicides took place in that same time period — 5.5% below the expected number. The study authors' looked at the days immediately following the song's release, Logic's performance at the 2017 MTV Awards with singers Alessia Cara and Khalid, and their act at the 2018 Grammys. According to the research, those events were also linked to a surge of activity connected to the song on Twitter. "To know that my music was actually affecting people's lives, truly, that's what inspired me to make the song," Logic said in a statement to CNN. "We did it from a really warm place in our hearts to try to help people. And the fact that it actually did, that blows my mind." The song centers around a high school student struggling with his sexuality and contemplating suicide. However, after a call to a hotline, he realizes he wants to live. The song went quintuple platinum and remained Logic's best performing song on Spotify.

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The Sounds of Healing
2021-08-02, Next City
Posted: 2021-09-13 20:40:33
https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/the-sounds-of-healing

What Washington musician Yoko Sen describes as the “soundtrack of her life” is not one of the songs she wrote for the band Dust Galaxy, but the alarm of the heart monitor at her hospital bedside. When the U.S.-based Japanese artist fell ill in 2012 and had to spend weeks in hospitals, she found the jarring sounds there detrimental to her healing. “I thought it was torture, the cacophony of alarms, beeps, doors slamming, the squeaking of carts, people screaming.” At the time, it wasn’t clear if Sen would make a full recovery. She was connected to four different machines, and each emitted a different sound. Her sensitive ears were especially bothered by the constant beeping of her heart monitor. “Sound is largely ignored in healthcare even though the aesthetics of it could have a great impact on our sense of wellbeing and dignity,” Sen realized. When Sen recovered, she was determined to follow her new mission: to “humanize” hospital sounds. How does healing sound? Or love? Are there tunes that foster recovery? She founded SenSound in 2015, a social enterprise to reimagine the acoustic environment in hospitals. [The] 41-year-old Sen is addressing a massive, often overlooked problem. On average, a patient endures 135 different alarms each day, hospitals are often louder than a highway during rush hour and sleep deprivation is a common complaint. Many wish for the sounds of nature, the laughter of children, or the voice of a loved one.

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Herbicide Roundup to be pulled from U.S. store shelves in response to lawsuits
2021-07-29, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2021-08-08 17:44:13
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Herbicide-Roundup-to-be-pulled-fr...

Facing billions of dollars in potential liability to cancer victims, Monsanto’s parent company said Thursday it would stop selling the current version of Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide, for U.S. home and garden use in 2023. The forthcoming version of the weed-killer will replace its current active ingredient, glyphosate, with “new formulations that rely on alternative active ingredients,” subject to approval by the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators, said Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical giant that purchased Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018. The company ... will continue to market the current version of the product for farm use in the United States and for general use in other nations that permit its sale. But while the EPA has found the current version of Roundup to be safe, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was a probable cause of cancer in humans. Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto and Bayer in state and federal courts. In the first case to go to trial, a San Francisco jury awarded nearly $290 million in damages in 2019 to Dewayne “Lee” Johnson of Vallejo, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer after spraying the herbicide as a groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District. State courts reduced the damages to $21.5 million and rejected the companies’ appeal.

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Two women chatted in a bathroom. They soon realized they were each a match for the other’s husband, who needed a kidney
2021-06-28, Washington Post
Posted: 2021-07-11 19:49:50
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/06/29/kidney-donate-transplant-...

Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis have been co-workers for a decade, and while they didn’t know each other well, they learned two years ago that their spouses each needed a kidney transplant. Then ... something remarkable happened. The women saw each other in a restroom at work and started chatting as they washed their hands. They had a lot in common, both working in information technology at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and dealing with the same medical stress at home. Neither was a match to be an organ donor for her own husband, and the transplant waiting lists are impossibly long. Wimbush casually asked Ellis what her husband’s blood type was. He’s type O, Ellis replied. Wimbush said her husband was type AB. The women paused for a moment and looked at each other. Then Wimbush realized they might have stumbled upon something that might help save both of their husbands’ lives. Wimbush thought she might be a match for Ellis’s husband, and — incredibly — she thought Ellis could be a match for her husband. Antibody tests revealed that each woman was an excellent match for the other’s spouse. So in March, seven months after that chance conversation, Wimbush donated one of her kidneys to Lance Ellis, 41, and Susan Ellis donated one of hers to Rodney Wimbush, 45. Both transplants done at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital went so well that the men have almost fully recovered and are going on weekend hikes with friends and family, Tia Wimbush said.

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How Food May Improve Your Mood
2021-05-06, New York Times
Posted: 2021-05-23 15:37:21
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/06/well/eat/mental-health-food.html

As people across the globe grappled with higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety this past year, many turned to their favorite comfort foods. But ... the sugar-laden and high-fat foods we often crave when we are stressed or depressed, as comforting as they may seem, are the least likely to benefit our mental health. Instead, whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes and fermented foods like yogurt may be a better bet. Historically, nutrition research has focused largely on how the foods we eat affect our physical health, rather than our mental health. But ... a growing body of research has provided intriguing hints about the ways in which foods may affect our moods. A healthy diet promotes a healthy gut, which communicates with the brain through what is known as the gut-brain axis. Microbes in the gut produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate our mood and emotions, and the gut microbiome has been implicated in mental health outcomes. “The gut microbiome plays a shaping role in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder,” a team of scientists wrote in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. “Mental health is complex,” said Dr. Jacka ... at Deakin University in Australia. “Eating a salad is not going to cure depression. But there’s a lot you can do to lift your mood and improve your mental health, and it can be as simple as increasing your intake of plants and healthy foods.”

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An Extreme Method for Stress Management Pushes for the Mainstream
2021-03-22, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2021-04-18 14:53:46
https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-extreme-method-for-stress-management-pushes-f...

Sitting in a barrel chest-high in ice cubes seems more like torture than a birthday treat. But not for Wim Hof. His techniques, combining hypoxic breathing with ice baths and cold showers, have been adopted by a cult following. Scientists are studying his almost superhuman ability to eliminate fear and control his immune response. Now, a lot of regular people are taking his advice. Amanda Henry, a mother and sixth-grade teacher ... says the stress of distance learning pushed her into 5 a.m. cold showers and Wim Hof breathing. She says the practice helps her to keep her patience. For years, the Iceman, as Mr. Hof is called, gained publicity—and some ridicule—for daredevil feats such as sitting for hours on bare ice. In 2013, researchers ... found that 12 people trained by Mr. Hof and then injected with E. coli had milder flulike symptoms than an untrained control group. In 2019, tests indicated a significant decrease in inflammation in 13 people suffering spinal arthritis over eight weeks of training in breathing, meditation and cold exposure. Mr. Hof’s career was born out of tragedy. He was in the Pyrenees working as a mountain guide when his wife died by suicide in 1995. “That’s the way it actually began—the real trial of my life,” he says. “We were left behind with broken hearts, four kids and no money.” Swimming in icy cold water had for years been a pastime. Now, he found it stopped the rumination and pain. Cold water causes you to be in the moment, he says. “Going into the cold brought ... stillness in my mind.”

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How 'biophilic' design can create a better workspace
2020-10-05, BBC
Posted: 2020-10-27 13:18:49
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200929-how-biophilic-design-can-create...

Houseplant sales were skyrocketing among US millennials even before the pandemic, with a nearly 50% rise in sales between 2017 and 2019, according to the National Gardening Association. Now, many like [travel writer MaSovaida] Morgan see them as a necessary tool in fostering optimal work-from-home conditions. Experts say this desire to fill indoor environments with objects from the outdoors ties in to the growing movement toward 'biophilic design', which is a concept used to increase wellbeing through both direct and indirect exposure to nature. Biophilic design was a major office trend in the years leading up to 2020, when Amazon introduced spherical conservatories to its Seattle headquarters; Microsoft debuted treehouse conference room in nearby Redmond, Washington; and Facebook created a 3.6-acre rooftop garden at its Silicon Valley hub. Thanks to the pandemic, millions of [remote workers] now have the chance to create a work environment with their own wellbeing in mind. An increasing body of evidence shows that incorporating nature can help with things like decreasing stress and increasing productivity, creativity and attention span. Beyond adding greenery ... there are several other simple additions for optimising a home office, including light and colour. Natural light supports the circadian rhythms of the body, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormones. Those working in a ... dark environment can typically mimic natural light by incorporate a variety of lighting levels throughout the workday.

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Asthma Hospitalizations Dropped after Louisville Power Plants Retired Coal or Installed Better Emission Controls
2020-04-13, Associated Press
Posted: 2020-04-26 21:11:29
https://apnews.com/Business%20Wire/981e73c6c70e48d69d658bae60f0dad1

After four Louisville, Kentucky, coal-fired power plants either retired coal as their energy source or installed stricter emission controls, local residents asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits dropped dramatically, according to research published today in Nature Energy. Coal-fired power plants are known to emit pollutants associated with adverse health effects, including increased asthma attacks, asthma-related ED visits and hospitalizations. In 2014, coal-fired power plants accounted for 63% of economy-wide emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO 2) in the U.S.. Historically, Kentucky has ranked among the top five states in the U.S. for emissions from power generation. Starting with a pilot in 2012, the city of Louisville embarked on a project called AIR Louisville, which aimed to use data from Propeller Healths digital inhaler sensors to gain insights into the impact of local air quality on the burden of respiratory disease in the community. Between 2013 and 2016, one coal-fired power plant in the Louisville area retired coal as an energy source, and three others installed stricter emission controls. The researchers found that energy transitions in the spring of 2015 resulted in three fewer hospitalizations and ED visits per ZIP code per quarter in the following year. This translates into nearly 400 avoided hospitalizations and ED visits each year across Jefferson County.

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The Netherlands is paying people to cycle
2018-12-21, CNN News
Posted: 2019-11-19 01:08:56
https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/netherlands-cycling/index.html

With 17 million residents and 23 million bicycles, the Netherlands already has more bikes than people. Now, it wants to get even more cyclists on the roads - and will pay people to do it. The Dutch government recently announced that it will invest $390 million (345 million) in cycling infrastructure to get 200,000 more people commuting by bike in three years' time. Fifteen routes will be developed into "cyclist freeways" (highways that cater to those on bikes), 25,000 bike parking spaces will be created and more than 60 bike storage facilities will be upgraded, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. "My ambition is to ensure that people can easily get to work or school, or visit family and friends," says Stientje van Veldhoven, state secretary for that department, who is spearheading the project. To get people to ditch their cars, money is being laid on the table. The Netherlands currently rewards commuting cyclists with tax credits of $0.22 (0.19) per kilometer. Companies and employees would agree on the distance of a person's cycling route. However, this is currently a little-known benefit not supported by many employers, according to the infrastructure ministry. That's something the government is hoping to change by better promoting the scheme and getting more companies on board. There are already 11 major employers in the Netherlands committing to measures such as financing employees' bikes.

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Forest Bathing Is Great for Your Health. Heres How to Do It
2018-05-01, Time
Posted: 2019-06-23 00:07:28
https://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/

We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. In Japan, we practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means forest, and yoku means bath. So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world. Numerous studies Ive conducted have shown that shinrin-yoku has real health benefits. So how does one go about forest bathing? First, find a spot. Make sure you have left your phone and camera behind. You are going to be walking aimlessly and slowly. You dont need any devices. Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. You can forest-bathe anywhere in the world wherever there are trees ... in rain, sunshine or snow. You dont even need a forest. Once you have learned how to do it, you can do shinrin-yoku anywhere in a nearby park or in your garden.

Note: The above is excerpted from the book "Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness" by Dr. Qing Li. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


They Were Addicted to Opioids. Now Theyre Running the New York Marathon.
2018-11-01, New York Times
Posted: 2019-04-06 22:56:14
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/nyregion/marathon-opioid-recovery-odyssey-...

Ryan Stevens sat on the edge of a concrete balustrade in Central Park after finishing three laps around the reservoir. She and her fellow runners [are] from Odyssey House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Ms. Stevens, who is 36 and lives in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx, was prepping for Sundays New York City Marathon her fourth, she said as a member of a unique group of competitors: former drug users who turned to running as part of their recovery from opioid addiction. Ms. Stevens said she grew up in Rhode Island and became addicted to her mothers prescription opioids at 22. That opened the door to ecstasy, cocaine and crystal meth. She completed an inpatient residential program at Odyssey House in June. Running, she said, has been central to her recovery. The 45 runners on the Odyssey House team who are planning to run New Yorks 26.2-mile trek include 19 current clients. The rest are supporters and alumni. John Tavolacci, Odyssey Houses chief operating officer, said he has run 22 marathons. He started the running group in 2001 as a supplement to treatment, based on a strong belief that running can be effective in helping overcome addiction. He has watched the Odyssey House team build self-esteem among participants, create a cooperative environment, and fill time for runners that otherwise might have been spent on negative pursuits.

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Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet
2019-02-12, Common Dreams
Posted: 2019-02-25 04:22:57
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/12/study-shows-toxic-pesticide-leve...

A new peer-reviewed study shows that eating a completely organic diet - even for just one week - can dramatically reduce the presence of pesticide levels in people, a finding that was characterized as "groundbreaking" by critics of an industrial food system that relies heavily on synthetic toxins and chemicals to grow crops and raise livestock. The study ... found that switching to an organic diet significantly reduced the levels of synthetic pesticides found in all participants. "This study shows that organic works," said study co-author Kendra Klein, PhD. The study tested the urine of four diverse American families ... after eating their typical diet of conventional food for six days and then after a controlled diet of all organic food for six days. The pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels detected in participants dropped by an average 60.5 percent after just six days of eating the all-organic diet. Specifically, the testing showed significant reductions in pesticides associated in the past with increased risk of autism, cancers, autoimmune disorders, infertility, hormone disruption, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease. "This important study shows how quickly we can rid our bodies of toxic pesticides by choosing organic," said [study co-author] Sharyle Patton. "Congratulations to the families who participated in the study and their willingness to tell their stories in support of creating a food system where organic is available to all."

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Could yoga save prisoners from a life of crime?
2018-09-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-01-06 01:44:49
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/11/yoga-prisons-crime-cut-reoffe...

New research shows the meditative exercise improves mental health, reduces stress and can prevent reoffending. The power of yoga to change [a prisoner's] life is backed by two Swedish studies that found it may reduce reoffending. The new study, led by Professor Nra Kerekes at University West, Trollhtten, in Sweden, and published last week in Frontiers in Psychiatry, found that 10 weeks of regular yoga can lead to a significant reduction in obsessive-compulsive and paranoid thinking, which in turn, say researchers, can make reoffending less likely. This effect is specific to yoga, and not to exercise in general, they found. It can also lead to a decrease in somaticisation (mental distress leading to physical symptoms such as breathing problems, heart pains and stomach upsets). The study of 152 volunteers in nine medium- and high-security prisons in Sweden builds on a 2017 study of the same volunteers that showed that yoga improved stress levels, concentration, sleep quality, psychological and emotional wellbeing, as well as reducing aggression and antisocial behaviour. A Prison Service spokeswoman says: Research shows activities like this can make prisoners less likely to reoffend, keeping the public safer. She was unable to explain why, given this evidence, it wasnt government policy to make yoga available to all prisoners, but said it was up to individual prison governors to decide which activities to offer.

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Bologna: The City that Rewards You with Free Beer and Ice Cream for Riding Your Bike
2018-11-05, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-11-26 06:53:17
https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/bologna-bike-riding-free...

If youve ever felt that your green credentials have gone unrewarded, it might be worth considering a move to the Italian city of Bologna. For six months a year, an initiative called Bella Mossa (Good Job) operates within the city, which rewards users of sustainable forms of transport with free beer, ice cream or film tickets. The programme ... aims to reduce pollution and offers residents and visitors an incentive to walk, cycle or take public transport, rather than travel by car. Participants simply download the Better Points app on their phone, where they can log up to four journeys per day. Over 100 businesses in Bologna have signed up to the scheme to offer benefits for points accrued. Points are awarded for the number of trips taken, rather than the distance covered. Whether you travel one kilometre or 10, the points will remain the same. To avoid any abuse of the system, a GPS tracker makes sure people are being honest about the journeys they log and the method of transport used. The app also tells users how much CO2 was saved on each journey. Urban planner Marco Amdori devised the scheme in 2017; its funded by the EU and Bolognas local government. Last year, [Bella Mossa] recorded 3.7 million kilometres of sustainable journeys in the city. This isnt the first time Bologna has led the way when it comes ethical living. In 2008, the Festival of Responsible Travel was established in the city and has continued to run annually ever since.

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Why this Thai businessman was named a biodiversity hero
2018-04-04, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2018-06-04 00:22:56
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2018/0404/Why-this-Thai-b...

Now and again you can find Nonn Panitvong floating facedown in rivers and lakes. Peering intently into the murky waters through his snorkeling mask, the Thai taxonomist is there to observe the behaviors of various freshwater fish species. At other times you can find him in limestone caves. With a flashlight in hand or strapped to his helmet, he scouts around for rare species of karst-dwelling geckos. He looks ... like a businessman, which is what he is: Nonn runs his familys sugar-cane mill conglomerate. Yet hes also among Thailands most intrepid naturalists. Recognized as a biodiversity hero by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ... Nonn has been a relentless popularizer of his homelands rich biodiversity, partly through his Siamensis.org website. A comprehensive database with some 20,000 members, the site has nurtured a form of crowdsourced ecology. It allows Thai nature lovers from all walks of life to pool their knowledge about often overlooked species, from snakes to dragonflies. Via social media Nonn has been inviting lay nature lovers and trained biologists alike to act as volunteer nature-watchers for neglected areas. The members of his platforms are also keeping an eye on the spread of invasive species. We want to generate and spread knowledge, Nonn says. One of our main themes is If you dont know it, you wont love it. In the end, people will conserve only what they value and love.

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The Power of Your Suffering is in How You Tell Your Story
2018-03-19, PBS
Posted: 2018-03-25 22:55:56
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-power-of-your-suffering-is-in-how-you-t...

Trauma is a word we hear used to describe a range of experiences. Author and journalist Aminatta Forna thinks the word is overused, and, in her Humble Opinion, it is time to find a new way of talking about terrible events. "My family has seen what feels like more than our share of painful, you might say traumatic, events," [said Forna]. "The murder of my father who was a political activist when I was 11, followed by 25 years of political oppression, 10 years of civil war and even an Ebola outbreak. "Im often asked whether I was traumatized by events, and I have to answer, truthfully, no. Over the years, I have written a great deal about people who have managed to endure events with the power to ruin lives, and this is what I have learned. The more a society tells you that you are irrevocably damaged by what has taken place, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ability to shape your own narrative, rather than having others shape it for you, is ultimately what matters most. Almost any experience can be reshaped, any destiny re-imagined, if those who have lived it tell their own stories. People who frame their experience within a wider context are often most capable of withstanding painful events. They rarely ask, why me. But rather see the world for the capricious and unfair place it can be, and they have a vision of their role in it. Individual temperament matters, but societal attitudes play a considerable role in shaping our responses. The suffering is real, but it may yet be withstood."

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In 5 Minutes, He Lets the Blind See
2015-11-07, New York Times
Posted: 2017-05-22 10:36:16
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/sunday/in-5-minutes-he-lets-the-bl...

He has restored eyesight to more than 100,000 people, perhaps more than any doctor in history. His patients ... stagger and grope their way to him along mountain trails from remote villages, hoping to go under his scalpel. A day after he operates to remove cataracts, he pulls off the bandages - and, lo! They can see clearly. At first tentatively, then jubilantly, they gaze about. A few hours later, they walk home, radiating an ineffable bliss. Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist ... has pioneered a simple cataract microsurgery technique that costs only $25 per patient and is virtually always successful. Indeed, his Nepal method is now taught in United States medical schools. In the United States, cataract surgery is typically performed with complex machines. But these are unaffordable in poor countries, so Dr. Ruit [pioneered a] small-incision microsurgery to remove cataracts without sutures. At first, skeptics denounced or mocked his innovations. But then the American Journal of Ophthalmology published a study of a randomized trial finding that Dr. Ruits technique had exactly the same outcome (98 percent success at a six-month follow-up) as the Western machines. One difference was that Dr. Ruits method was much faster and cheaper. He founded the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, which ... conducts eye surgery on 30,000 patients annually, [as well as] manufactures 450,000 tiny lenses a year for use in cataract surgery, keeping costs to $3 a lens compared to $200 in the West.

Note: Your direct donation to help this man can cure blindness for many people.Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Placebo Effect Can Mend Your Broken Heart, Study Suggests
2017-04-26, Huffington Post
Posted: 2017-05-08 11:01:40
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-get-over-a-breakup-according-to-sc...

A new study suggests the best way to get over a breakup is to fake it until you make it. Simply believing youre doing something positive to get over your ex can influence brain regions associated with emotional regulation and lessen the pain youre feeling. Remaining open to the possibility that what youre doing could potentially make you feel better works like a placebo. [Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder] studied 40 young people whod experienced an unwanted breakup in the past six months. The participants were asked to bring in two photos: one of their ex and one of a close friend. Inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the heartbroken parties were shown images of their exes and asked to reflect on the breakup. Then they saw the images of their friend (the control variable). They were also given a jolt of physical pain (a hot stimulus on their left forearm). As these stimuli were alternately repeated ... the fMRI machine tracked activity in the brain. Similar areas of the brain lit up during both emotional pain ... and physical pain - suggesting that the heartache you feel after a breakup is very real. The subjects were [then] given a nasal spray. Half were told the spray was a powerful analgesic effective in reducing emotional pain, while the rest were told it was merely a saline solution. [After experiencing] the same painful stimuli as before ... the placebo group felt less physical and emotional pain, [and] there was reduced activity in the areas of the brain associated with social rejection.

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Earthing: How Walking Barefoot Could Cure Your Insomnia & More
2017-04-05, Goop.com
Posted: 2017-04-23 18:36:57
http://goop.com/earthing-how-walking-barefoot-could-cure-your-insomnia-more/

Several people in our community swear by earthing - also called grounding - for everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression. Longtime earthing-movement leader Clint Ober explains: "The simplest and most natural method of grounding is to go outdoors and place your bare feet and hands directly on the earthmany people choose to go for a barefoot walk in the park or on the beach. For people who dont have safe access to a place to walk barefoot (or for whom its inconvenient to do so for long periods of time), there are grounded mats that allow people to work grounded, with their bare feet placed on the mat. When I started grounding myself, the first noticeable effect was that I slept much better. Eventually I met Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a New York-based cardiologist, who wanted to look into the effect of grounding on inflammation. Since then, weve found that grounding improves sleep, reduces chronic pain, and speeds healing. In fact, many professional athletes sleep grounded, as it reduces pain and facilitates quicker recovery for sore muscles. Grounding greatly reduces blood viscosity, particularly after exercise, in part helping to counteract exercise-induced inflammation. As of today, there are twenty-one ... published studies examining the health benefits of earthing. We currently have [another] study underway at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, which is designed to measure the effects of body-workers inflammation and health as a result of being grounded during work.

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The Running Program That's Pulled 13,000 Out of Homelessness
2016-11-30, Daily Good
Posted: 2016-12-06 10:39:04
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1451/the-running-program-that-s-pulled-13-000-...

On a recent Friday morning, a group of about 20 homeless guys warmed up in a parking lot across the street from three shelters in East Harlem. In a circle, they did jumping jacks, twisted their torsos and touched their toes. Fifteen minutes later, they huddled up, chanted the Serenity Prayer ... and took off running. Ryan ... began jogging with the group, known as Back on My Feet, seven months ago. Never a runner, he always wondered what the big deal about it was. Ask him today, however, and hell tell you its so natural, almost spiritual. Back on My Feet is a program that uses running to help the homeless get their lives back on track. In addition to connecting participants with housing and jobs, Back on My Feet is founded on the notion that running can change a persons self-image. Early morning exercise, three days a week, provides an outlet for pent-up emotions and starts to change the way someone thinks about hard work. If the concept seems hokey or contrived, the programs numbers show thats not the case. Back on My Feets program has reached 5,200 homeless individuals. More than 1,900 have obtained employment, and 1,300 have moved into independent housing. Waking up so early every morning - whether the thermometers bubbling over or when its frozen solid - instills discipline and responsibility in the participants. Theyre two valuable concepts, but both are hard to teach in the abstract. They need to be lived to be experienced.

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How she got rid of her hunchback
2016-08-08, New York Post
Posted: 2016-08-22 12:12:28
http://nypost.com/2016/08/08/this-85-year-old-proves-yoga-can-keep-you-young/

When Anna Pesce was visiting her children in Wagener, SC, in November 2014, the then-85-year-old Orangeburg, NY, native almost collapsed trying to climb a set of stairs. I had this horrible pain shooting up my back, Pesce [said]. I had to be carried up the stairs and put into a wheelchair for the rest of my stay. For the past few decades, Pesce suffered from hunchbacklike posture - the result of a herniated disc, scoliosis and osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and can lead to curvature of the spine. Three months after her South Carolina visit, she began working with certified yoga instructor Rachel Jesien, [who] visited Pesce in her home once a week, teaching her restorative poses and stretches. After one month of sessions, Pesce was able to walk again. Yoga, done with the guidance of a back-care specialist, can strengthen bone density and muscles and alleviate back pain caused by osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and other conditions that affect the elderly. Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management at Mount Sinai Hospital, agrees that doing yoga poses can help some people manage painful back conditions. While Danesh recommends that people go to a physical therapist first for a proper diagnosis, he stresses that one-on-one care with a specialist is key. While older people may feel intimidated by yoga, Jesien says its worth seeking out a certified back-care instructor, and Pesce agrees. I feel wonderful now because I can drive by myself and do the things I wasnt able to do before, Pesce says.

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The Rise of Early-Morning Dance Parties
2015-03-13, New York Times
Posted: 2016-06-06 22:38:37
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/style/the-rise-of-early-morning-dance-parti...

It was around 7:15 on a recent Tuesday morning. We were in the middle of a partner yoga session at one of the San Francisco editions of Daybreaker, an early-morning dance party that descends, every month, on an increasing number of cities around the world. There wasnt much time for reflection. A massage train was forming in the center of the increasingly brightening Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. People rubbed shoulders and had their shoulders rubbed. Soon, revelers were thronging the coat check. House music thumped from the main room. Near the D.J., Teresa Young ... formed a circle with 10 of her friends. Its hard to motivate people ... to go out to anything these days, but surprisingly the amount of people that will wake up at the crack of dawn to do yoga and dance - massive! she exclaimed, beaming. She works in digital marketing and planned to go from the party to her office. This, its founders say, is why Daybreaker was created: to give people who genuinely enjoy dancing an outlet to do so without alcohol, drugs, cover fees, bottle service or all of the usual accouterments of night life. The emphasis at the San Francisco party was on consciousness, mindfulness, purposefulness and othernesses that generally necessitate being neither drunk nor high. By 9:30, things were winding down. Lana Baumgartner, 28, contemplated how many calories she had burned: Id much rather be dancing with all these people than in a gym.

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Meet the doctor who treats the homeless
2016-03-21, CNN
Posted: 2016-05-02 17:24:44
http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/07/us/cnn-heroes-homeless-doctor-jim-withers/

Dr. Jim Withers used to dress like a homeless person. On purpose. Two to three nights a week, he rubbed dirt in his hair and muddied up his jeans and shirt before walking the dark streets of Pittsburgh. Withers wanted to connect with those who had been excluded from his care. "I was actually really shocked how ill people were on the street," he said. "Young, old, people with mental illness, runaway kids, women (who) fled domestic violence, veterans. And they all have their own story." Homelessness costs the medical system a lot of money. Individuals often end up in emergency rooms, and stay there longer, because their illnesses go untreated and can lead to complications. For 23 years, Withers has been treating the homeless - under bridges, in alleys and along riverbanks. "We realized that ... we could make 'house calls,'" he said. It's something that Withers' father, a rural doctor, often did. Withers' one-man mission became a citywide program called Operation Safety Net. Since 1992, the group has reached more than 10,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 of them transition into housing. In addition to street rounds, the program has a mobile van, drop-in centers and a primary health clinic, all where the homeless can access medical care. In the way I'd like to see things, every person who is still on the streets will have medical care that comes directly to them and says, "You matter." Having street medicine in [the] community transforms us. We begin to see that we're all in this together.

Note: Don't miss the video of Withers' inspiring "street medicine" in action at the CNN link above.


Is it possible to be fat and fit? At 250 pounds, distance runner Mirna Valerio provides an inspiring example.
2015-07-01, Runner's World
Posted: 2016-04-11 09:43:36
https://web.archive.org/web/20150825022946/http://www.runnersworld.com/runner...

People always say to me, Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny. Of course, what they're really saying: If you do all this running, why are you still so fat? Early that morning [Mirna] Valerio had led a three-mile group run around the campus of Rabun Gap-Na-coochee School in the nearby town of Rabun Gap, where she serves as Spanish teacher, choir director, and head coach of the cross-country team. She's about to start her second run of the day. Every run, every race, every traverse of a mountain trail, every gym workout, Valerio begins by taking a photo. To prove that I was out here, she explains. Later, she will post the photos on ... her blog, Fat Girl Running, in which she both writes of the joys of the running life and thoughtfully, humorously, and sometimes angrily rebuts her doubters, who can't believe that a self-described fat person might discover - or deserve - this kind of joy. With a BMI ... above the National Institutes of Health-established line defining obesity, Valerio, a marathoner, ultramarathoner, and trail runner, has emerged as ... a living argument that it's possible to be both fit and fat. I'm pretty much in love with my body, she writes. Sometimes I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect. By making peace with her obesity - or, more accurately, by fighting her disease to a kind of enduring, vigorously active truce - Valerio draws kudos from a formerly skeptical medical community.

Note: Read another great piece on this inspiring woman.


Organic foods are more nutritious, according to review of 343 studies
2014-07-14, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2014-07-22 10:07:48
http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-organic-foods-20140715-story.html

Most everyone who has ever selected their fruits and vegetables from the "organic" section while grocery shopping probably thought they were doing something good for their bodies and the environment. Yet the question of whether organic foods are in fact more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts remains a topic of heated scientific debate. On [July 14], the British Journal of Nutrition published research that disputed the notion that organic foods are essentially no more healthful than conventional foods. After reviewing 343 studies on the topic, researchers in Europe and the United States concluded that organic crops and organic-crop-based foods contained higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown foods. At the same time, the researchers found that conventional foods contained greater concentrations of residual pesticides and the toxic metal cadmium. "This shows clearly that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains deliver tangible nutrition and food safety benefits," said study coauthor Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Note: Read more about this landmark study in this article.


Vitamin D May Double Chances of Surviving Breast Cancer
2014-03-07, TIME Magazine
Posted: 2014-07-14 16:13:24
http://time.com/16148/vitamin-d-may-double-chances-of-surviving-breast-cancer/

In a new study, researchers found that breast-cancer patients who had high levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to survive [as] women with low levels. They reviewed five studies that observed more than 4,440 women. “The study has implications for including vitamin D as an adjuvant to conventional breast cancer therapy,” study co-author Dr. Heather Hofflich, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego, said in a press release. The researchers recommend that vitamin D should be added to the various treatments given to women fighting breast cancer. The body naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but milk, fatty fish and other foods can also boost production. Patients could also take vitamin D supplements.

Note: This is huge news! Why isn't this exciting development getting more press coverage? Read numerous major media articles revealing potential cancer cures which have received little attention. And see an informative article with more on the Vitamin D connection.


Meditation Has the Power to Influence Your Genes
2013-12-09, Psychology Today
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:19:03
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/meditation-has-th...

In a groundbreaking discovery, a collaborative team of researchers from Wisconsin, Spain, and France reported in December 2013 the first evidence of specific molecular changes at a genetic level following a period of mindfulness meditation. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The study compared the effects of a single day of intensive mindfulness practice between a group of experienced meditators and a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After an intensive day of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a dramatic range of genetic and molecular differences. Meditation was found to alter levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation. "Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona in Spain, where the molecular analyses were conducted. In past studies, mindfulness-based training has been shown to have beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders. Meditation is endorsed by the American Heart Association as an effective way to lower [the] risk for heart disease. Another study from April 2011 found that meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain.

Note: For an excellent and inspiring book on how your thinking and feeling can change your genes, check out Bruce Lipton's Biology of Belief, available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Marijuana stops child's severe seizures
2013-08-07, CNN
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:08:20
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/in...

Charlotte and Chase were born October 18, 2006. They were healthy. Everything was normal. The twins were 3 months old when the Figis' lives changed forever. [Charlotte had a] seizure [which] lasted about 30 minutes. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. They did a million-dollar work-up ... and found nothing. A week later, Charlotte had another seizure. Over the next few months, Charlotte ... had frequent seizures lasting two to four hours, and she was hospitalized repeatedly. She was [put] on seven drugs -- some of them heavy-duty, addictive ones such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines. They'd work for a while, but the seizures always came back with a vengeance. At 2, she really started to decline cognitively. In November 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which required the state to set up a medical marijuana registry program. [Then Charlotte's father Matt] found a video online of a California boy whose [seizures were] being successfully treated with cannabis. [Her parents started] Charlotte out on a small dose. By then Charlotte had lost the ability to walk, talk and eat. She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. The results were stunning. The seizures stopped for ... seven days. [Now] Charlotte gets a dose of the cannabis oil twice a day. [It has] stopped the seizures. Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle.

Note: There have been plentiful stories of miraculous healing from marijuana, but this may be the first time the major media is reporting it (see links at the bottom of this article for more). That's exciting! We may be seeing a major change here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


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