January 5, 2013


Vaccines have been in the news a lot lately, and they likely will continue to be for quite some time. I want to start this explanation by stating that I don’t tell my patients to refrain from getting vaccines. Vaccinations can be a good thing, and it would be hard to refute the fact that some vaccines have helped to save many lives in the last 60 years. When my patients ask me about vaccines, I tell them that the best thing they can do is to get informed about the vaccinations they’re considering and make a decision that takes into consideration all the related risks and benefits. That said, here are a few of the vaccines that have been under fire recently:

Influenza vaccines: Commonly called flu shots, a number of vaccinations for the influenza virus are on the market today. Some of these vaccines include a chemical called thimerosal, which contains mercury. Thimerosal is used as a preservative in these influenza vaccines, and it’s about half mercury, by weight. The toxicity of the mercury in thimerisol is currently being debated, but no matter which side of the debate you fall on, here’s some good news: Some influenza vaccines do not contain thimerisol, so you have options if you want to get a flu shot but don’t want to also get a dose of mercury.

The bad news is that mercury-free shots can be difficult to locate, and some doctors don’t know which type they have. In some states, the mercury-free versions are reserved for Medicaid patients. The FDA has a lot of thimerosal information on its Web site, including a list that shows you some of the vaccines that do not contain the substance. Check out www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccines: Many forms of the DTP vaccine, which is commonly given to infants, contain both aluminium and formaldehyde. Some people argue that the amounts of these toxins in the vaccine are minimal and don’t cause any problems; others contend that the substances are dangerous no matter how small the amount.

Polio vaccines: Many of the polio vaccines made today are processed through the cells of Green Monkey kidneys. In previous decades, monkey viruses have contaminated polio vaccine doses, and those doses were given to the general public before the virus was discovered. Many researchers claim that the problem is behind us, but some scientists believe we still need to be concerned.

Hepatitis B vaccines: Most of the controversy surrounding vaccines for hepatitis B centers on the use of the vaccine in children. U.S. government data has shown that children under the age of 14 are as much as three times more likely to suffer adverse effects from the hepatitis B vaccine as they are to catch the disease in the absence of a vaccination.

Watching your body fight toxins

Your body gets rid of toxins in a couple of key ways. The first is the elimination of toxins; you have systems in place that simply flush the bad stuff out. The second is chemical detoxification, which occurs when various parts of your body — the liver is a top example — break down toxins into simpler, less harmful materials that are usually shuttled out of the body in your waste products.

Toxin elimination

When you talk about the natural elimination of toxins from your body, your kidneys deserve center stage. Sure, some organs have a higher profile — your brain and heart come to mind — but when it comes to sorting out toxins and putting them on the first fast train out (usually into the toilet), nothing beats the kidneys. They’re especially adept at clearing out water-soluble toxins.

Many fat-soluble toxins that can’t be whisked away by your kidneys or broken down by your liver (more on that organ in a moment) get sequestered in your fat cells, where they become a constant source of toxicity. How do you get rid of those toxins? You sweat the small stuff and the big stuff and everything in between. Sweating is a remarkable detoxification technique; several different kinds of toxins can be removed from your body only through sweating.

Chemical detoxification

Chemical detoxification takes place when one of your body’s parts breaks down the chemical structure of a toxin so it’s no longer harmful. The process starts in your nose and mouth, where immune cells begin busting up toxic substances. The tonsils do a lot of work on toxins before they continue toward your stomach, where some of the most potent acid in the natural world goes to work on a breadth of toxins. That brings it to the liver. Your liver is a fantastic chemical processing plant, and it can break down toxins that range from ammonia to alcohol.

What detoxification can do for you

When you think about toxins, you can consider them poisons. You don’t want poisons floating around in your body, do you? Toxins can affect virtually every system and part of your body, causing a massive decrease in efficiency and function. Toxins also cause disease. Removing toxins — and avoiding them in the first place — can have some truly startling positive effects on your health. Here are just a few examples:

Increasing energy: Many toxins directly affect the production of energy in your body, and when your toxic levels are high you have far less energy than you would enjoy if your systems were toxin free (or close to it). The more toxins you can remove and keep out, the more energy you’ll have.

Boosting immune function: Your immune system plays a major part in detoxification. The more it has to work toward getting rid of toxins, the less work it can do on its normal tasks (such as preventing infections and killing cancer cells). Getting rid of toxins makes life easier for your immune system, which allows it to do its job effectively.

Managing stress: We usually think of stress as an emotional response to an unwanted situation. That’s definitely one cause of stress, but toxins can put even more stress on your body, which reacts the same to emotional stress and toxic stress. Stress harms your body in many different ways, including (but not limited to) organ damage and brain problems. Managing toxic and emotional stress can be a major contributor to good health.

Decreasing fat: Everyone needs a little stored energy, and fat is one of the ways you fulfill that need. Unfortunately, many of us are storing enough energy (in the form of fat) for several people. That’s a medical problem — a very serious one. In addition to the strain obesity puts on your cardiovascular system, there’s a toxic element of obesity that many people don’t understand. Fat-soluble toxins are stored in your fat cells, and these cells release toxins into your bloodstream on a regular basis. You have to get the toxins out of the fat cells before you can reduce the fat. Then, with less fat, the toxins have fewer places to hide.

Defining detoxification

So what is detoxification, anyway? It’s any process that removes a substance that is injurious to your body or that changes a toxic substance so it’s no longer injurious. Dozens of different detoxification methods exist, and I cover the most useful and important ones — including diet, which is the most critical of all — throughout this book. Broadly speaking, though, you can split detoxification up into two categories: internal and external.


Our bodies have an extraordinarily complex array of systems that change, break down, attack and destroy, or eliminate threats to our internal environment and health. For thousands of years these systems have helped humans to enjoy relatively good basic health, but for most of those years the exposure to toxins was very low and rarely caused a problem. That’s not so today. The primary internal systems for detoxification are the stomach, intestines, liver, immune system, kidneys, and lungs. Each one works in a different way to keep us as clean as possible, and you can enhance the detox power of each system.


When it comes to external detoxification, your skin is second to none. Your skin serves as an important barrier that keeps many toxins from entering your body. Your sweat glands, which are extremely important sites for detoxification, are also housed in your skin.

Figuring Out Whether Your Anger Is Toxic

I coined the term toxic anger to convey the fact that certain subtypes of anger can be poisonous, even lethal. Other forms of anger are benign (nontoxic) and really cannot hurt you in any appreciable way. The trick is to know which is which.

Annoyances count

In one study where 50 college students were asked to keep a weekly diary of how often they got annoyed or angry, they recorded 1,536 instances of emotion. The average student reported getting angry seven times a week, roughly once a day. However, the average student also reported feeling annoyed 24 times a week or approximately 3 times a day. In other words, their report of anger was four times greater when they included milder forms of emotions like annoyance.

Anger is just a word — a fairly meaningless concept — until you break it down into something that can be quantified.

At least once a day Chronic irritation Chronic anger Chronic rage. Which category did you fall into? Does it make the problem more real when you put these types of labels on it? I find that most people are comfortable with terms like irritated and angry, but they don’t like the label rage at all.

Episodic anger

Slightly more than a third (36 percent) of those sampled acknowledged the fact that they got angry a couple of times a week.  This is our first glimpse at what I call toxic anger. Approximately 15 percent of the sample readily admitted to getting this angry on occasion, although not daily. I like to refer to these individuals as sleeping lions or occasional hotheads — they’re fine until they get aroused, and then watch out!

Chronic irritation

You may think that chronic irritation is a problem, but it’s really not all that toxic. People may see you as moody or bitchy, but they still tolerate you most of the time. Interestingly, only about 2 percent of people fall in this category — thank goodness.

Chronic anger

This is the second category of toxic anger. It included 11 percent of those surveyed, people like Nathan, a retired salesman who finds himself getting angry repeatedly every day about one thing or another. “I get mad when my wife takes too long shopping, when things break around the house, when gas prices go up — just about anything that doesn't suit me,” he says. “But don’t get me wrong — I don’t go off the deep end and rant and rave.” Like many people, he thinks he doesn't have a problem with anger because it never rises to the level of uncontrollable rage — but he’s wrong. It’s just not healthy to be angry as frequently as he is.

Chronic rage

This is our worst-case example of toxic anger. I’m sorry to say that 12 percent of those responding fell into this subgroup. If you find yourself in this group, your anger is volatile (as in volcano!) and there’s absolutely no question that anger is poisoning just about every aspect of your life. This type of anger is dangerous and serves no useful purpose.

Anger Management Support

Here’s how you can garner all the support you need in order to succeed at anger management:

·         Keep in mind that most people want to be supportive — they’re just waiting on you to give them an opportunity. Take the initiative and ask your closest friends and family members for their support. Support that goes unrecognized or unused does you no good. Most people have far more support than they take advantage of. This is no time to think, “I don’t want to be a burden on anyone.” Believe me, you’re more of a burden when you’re angry than when you’re not!

·         Be willing to give support to your friends and family in turn. Support must be reciprocal. In order to receive it, you must give it.

·         Keep in mind that no one person can satisfy all your support needs. One person may be able to offer emotional support, while another may help out in a more tangible way. Don’t be too surprised if, at first, you have trouble getting support for your efforts at anger management. Remember: You've probably hurt a lot of people with your anger over the years — and they may have some lingering resentment, fear, and uncertainty. That’s natural. But if you’re truly committed to managing your anger, chances are they’ll eventually rally to your cause.

January 4, 2013

Your brain’s response to injury

When your brain is injured by stroke, it mounts a significant response to repair the damage and clean up the mess. The result is similar to what happens anywhere when you injure yourself. White blood cells are activated to absorb dead and dying cell debris and carry it away in the bloodstream. Some brain cells form a kind of scar tissue on the edges of the injury. When the stroke is larger than a few cells, a small cavity, which fills with a clear or yellow fluid, forms in the brain. When a red stroke heals, it often stains the brain yellow because the white cells change the color of the red pigment of blood in the process of cleaning up the blood clot. This is similar to the yellow tinge that you may have seen as a bruise heals.

Evidence indicates that part of the healing process for the brain may include some sort of rewiring. The younger you are, the more extensive the rewiring is, and the more rapidly it occurs. What actually happens in the cells is something of a mystery. Whether new cells are formed as part of the process remains unclear, but we do know that new connections are formed.

One of the best-studied examples of rewiring is when patients with normal vision become blind. When their brains are studied several years later, it is clear that the part of the brain that used to respond to visual stimuli now responds to touch in the fingers as the patients read Braille.

TPA: Clot-buster to the rescue.

One Saturday morning, a 75-year-old man was in his yard when he developed a headache, right-side weakness, and confusion. Neighbors called EMS. He was brought to the emergency department of a mid-sized Midwestern hospital.

When first examined, he couldn't lift his right arm, the right side of his face drooped, and his right leg was weak. He was unable to talk and did not seem to understand what was being said to him.

He was taken for a CT scan immediately. No blood was seen on the CT. Because of his symptoms, the doctor taking care of him thought that the problem was probably in the left internal carotid artery or one of its main branches. Because there was no bleeding seen on the CT scan to suggest a red stroke, the doctor assumed this was a white ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot blocking an artery.

The doctor on call gave TPA, tissue plasminogen activator, a commonly used clot-buster for stroke patients, to dissolve the blood clot two hours after the stroke started. The patient had recovered the use of his right leg and could speak and understand words to some extent.

This man owes a lot to his quick-thinking neighbors who got him to an emergency room so fast. After a stroke, brain function generally improves some with time. This is true regardless of the type of stroke. The improvement is more rapid in the first few weeks and months and is thought to be greater if other problems, such as muscle contractures and atrophy of muscles, are prevented. Occupational, speech, and physical therapy all incorporate exercises to aid in rehabilitation. Recent research indicates that such therapy may play an important role in stimulating brain rewiring and regrowth. Naturally, the larger the brain injury is, the less you will be able to recover.

How the brain manages all the different senses

The picture that you see as your brain peers through your eyes and out into the world travels to the visual cortex in the very back of the brain. The scene each eye picks up goes to the brain stem, to a little junction box. Nerve fibers from the junction box send this data across the middle of the brain stem and to the very back of the brain where it’s projected on the opposite side. For example, what your eyes see to the upper left is shown on the lower right part of the map.

Hearing is presented on a whole series of little maps that arrange the pitch by frequency. The hearing cortex is located between the more straightforward mechanical areas that coordinate movement and the areas where more emotional functions are known to reside.

Ordinary touch is mapped according to the position on the body, just like the area responsible for simple movements. Taste and smell have their own special locations in the brain stem and frontal cortex just above the nose.

Taking steps to prevent stroke

Fact is, neither you nor I nor your doctor knows for certain whether a stroke is in your future. It’s not really possible to predict with any certainty exactly who will suffer a stroke. To some extent, having a stroke is a matter of bad luck. But we do know that certain characteristics place you at a greater risk for stroke. We know that you are more prone to this particular form of bad luck if you have high blood pressure, smoke cigarettes, and/or have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood cholesterol levels. Researchers have identified a number of indicators that can help predict the likelihood of stroke. Some you can influence; others you can’t.

Stroke is in the brain

Because of a number of possible causes of stroke — part of your brain may be deprived of blood. When that happens, it doesn't take long for your brain to suffer. In a nutshell, the glucose and oxygen transported by one of the brain’s arteries are not reaching some part of the brain, which in less than a minute will begin to shut down. And you will show signs of stroke.

The 50 professional groups forming the Brain Attack Coalition describe the signs of stroke as follows:

·         Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
·         Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
·         Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
·         Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
·         Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Most of the time, a stroke victim feels no pain as the stroke is occurring — so there is not much evidence to clue you in that the reason your hand looks funny and doesn't move when you want is because there’s something wrong in your head.

Most people who have a stroke don’t know what is happening to them. Most people who see someone who’s had a stroke don’t know what is happening. A stroke doesn't hurt (except if a headache accompanies it), and its most obvious effects are far from the brain where the problem is located. This means a lot of people don’t recognize they are having a stroke and can’t use the opportunities they have to get into the hospital quickly and be treated.

January 3, 2013

A child's BMI

Measuring body mass index (BMI)

Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that uses your child’s height and weight to estimate how much body fat he has. Your doctor uses BMI to determine whether your child is the appropriate weight for his age and height.

From the age of 2 years, a BMI check forms part of your child’s regular checkups. The doctor checks your child’s BMI against other children and then puts the measurements on a standard child growth chart. There are separate charts for boys and girls to account for growth and body fat differences. After several checks, a pattern emerges and your doctor can track your child’s growth.

BMI can be a helpful measurement if your child’s at risk of becoming overweight as he gets older. In older children, there’s a strong link between BMI and body fat. A child with higher BMI readings will probably have weight problems when he’s older. If your child has high BMI readings, take steps to change his diet and exercise habits. BMI isn’t a perfect measurement. Children gain weight quickly – for example, during puberty – and a high BMI may be due to a high muscle mass. Monitor BMI as a trend rather than individual numbers.

Child Care

Eat, drink, and be healthy

If you want your child to eat healthily, you need to serve her a wide variety of nutritious foods for energy, growth, and development. This means giving processed and junk foods a wide berth – but it doesn't mean not being flexible. Food isn't worth arguing over, and if your child insists on eating curly cheesy crisps, that’s fine – as long as they don’t form her staple diet. If most of the food your child eats is nutritious, you’ll be keeping her in tip-top condition. Try doing the following to make sure that she eats well:

Give your child at least five helpings of fruit and vegetables a day – fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or juiced. You’re probably already aware of this important point, but there’s no harm in stressing it again. Fruits and vegetables contain the crucial nutrients needed to maintain a healthy digestive system, create new body tissue, fight infections, and a lot more. Try to offer your child at least one orange and one green fruit or vegetable every day, as they are known to be particularly beneficial and may help to prevent cancer and other serious diseases. Fruit or vegetable juice only makes up one of her daily portions of fruit and vegetables, no matter how much she drinks. That’s because other goodies in the flesh are not included in juice, and digesting whole fruit and vegetables benefits her system.

Make sure that your child eats breakfast. Studies show that if your child eats breakfast, she’s far less likely to become obese in later life. Skipping breakfast can cause blood-sugar problems and make your child’s metabolism sluggish, which is bad for the digestive system. Most experts say that breakfast’s the most important meal of the day: Breakfast eaters are less likely to contract diabetes or have high cholesterol, which is a known risk factor for heart disease.

Maintain your own healthy diet. You’re important too! Eating healthy food yourself is one of the best ways of getting your child into good habits, so make sure that you tuck in to your greens. Studies also show that children who have regular family mealtimes are more likely to have healthier diets than those who don’t. Snacking in front of the TV is a definite no-no.

Offer as much unprocessed food as possible, and get into the habit of reading labels on the foods you serve. Check for things such as hidden fats, sugars, additives, and salt. Foods with lots of preservatives and added flavourings are often deficient in essential nutrients and high in unhealthy (and unnecessary) chemicals. Salt’s a particular danger – it can cause health problems, including high blood pressure and heart conditions. And sugar (and sugar substitutes), additives, and coloring's have been linked with everything from behavioral problems to physical ailments.

Get your child to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Drinking enough fluids is vital. Water’s the best drink by far – try to keep sugary drinks and juices to a minimum, and don’t serve them at all between meals because they are lethal to tiny teeth. The British medical profession has been telling us for many years that most children aren't drinking enough. Dehydration leads to many short-term and long-term health problems: Lack of water can cause headaches, constipation, and poor concentration, to name but a few things. A good way to tell whether your child’s dehydrated is to check the color of her urine. Her urine should be a pale straw color  If it’s dark yellow, she may well be dehydrated. A sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on a baby’s head) can also indicate dehydration.


The term prediabetes hasn’t been around long. In fact, it was first used in 2002. It was introduced by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and by then–Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. There were a number of reasons for the introduction of this term:

·         The terms impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance were meaningless to patients and required a lot of explaining.

·         Other terms, like touch of sugar and borderline diabetes, were generally meaningless.

·         Studies such as the Diabetes Prevention Program showed that diet and exercise resulting in a weight loss as little as 5 to 7 percent of someone’s initial weight would lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent.

·         A broadly understandable term was needed so that patients could know where they were and where they had to go with respect to diabetes.

These people stood to benefit from lifestyle modification and other treatments.

Studies at the time showed that most people with prediabetes would go on to develop diabetes within ten years unless they made relatively modest changes in diet and exercise. Therefore, the ADA and Secretary Thompson put together an expert panel of doctors and other diabetes experts. The panel report stated that intervention in prediabetes is critical for three reasons:

Just having glucose levels in the prediabetic range puts a person at a 50 percent greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The development of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by modest lifestyle change.

For many people, modest changes in lifestyle can turn back the clock and return elevated blood glucose levels to normal.

Along with the new term, the ADA recommended that physicians begin to screen their patients for prediabetes at age 45. Screening was especially important for people who answered yes to these questions:

·         Do you have a relative with type 2 diabetes or heart disease?

·         Are you overweight or obese?

·         Do you have high blood pressure?

·         Do you have a sedentary lifestyle?

·         Do you have high levels of triglycerides and/or low levels of HDL cholesterol (both being types of fats measured in a blood test)?

·         Do you belong to a higher-risk ethnic group, such as African American, Latino, or Asian American/Pacific Islander?

·         Do you have apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped weight distribution? This means your excess weight is around your stomach rather than your hips.

·         For women who have had children, did you develop diabetes during the pregnancy or have a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth?

·         For women, is there a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that may include lack of periods, infertility, and increased hair on the body?

These days, if you can answer no to all these questions, you may be from outer space. So most doctors just screen all people over age 45.

Controversies with DSM

Just what is a mental disorder? Diagnosing an emotional problem doesn’t come about with a simple chemical analysis or blood test. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals typically refer to a document called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for determining the criteria for any specific diagnosis of an emotional disorder.

The reason professionals do so is to communicate with each other by using an agreed-on set of standards, which the DSM provides. For example, the most recent revision of the DSM states that to have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, you must suffer from depression for at least two weeks and experience five or more symptoms. Well, some people have only four symptoms, but the symptoms continue for 12 weeks or more. Does that mean that these folks don’t have a major depressive disorder? That’s one of the reasons the DSM is controversial; it isn’t always clear if someone perfectly fits a given diagnosis.

Therefore, the DSM is constantly under revision and is considered imperfect in many ways. Professionals continue to disagree with aspects of the diagnostic criteria.

January 2, 2013

The Symptoms of Schizophrenia

There are almost 300 named psychiatric disorders, and schizophrenia is one of them. Although many mental illnesses have symptoms that overlap, schizophrenia has a distinct pattern of symptoms. No two cases of schizophrenia look exactly the same, but most people with schizophrenia display three types of symptoms:

Positive symptoms: The term positive symptoms is confusing, because positive symptoms (as the term might suggest) aren’t “good” symptoms at all. They’re symptoms that add to reality, and not in a good way. People with schizophrenia hear things that don’t exist or see things that aren’t there (in what are known as hallucinations). The voices they hear can accuse them of terrible things and can be very jarring (for example, causing them to think that they’ve hurt someone or have been responsible for some cataclysmic world event).

People with schizophrenia can also have delusions (false beliefs that defy logic or any culturally specific explanation and that cannot be changed by logic or reason). For example, an individual may believe that there is a conspiracy of people driving red cars that follows his every movement. He will use the fact that there are red cars everywhere he goes as evidence that the conspiracy is real.

Negative symptoms: These symptoms are a lack of something that should be present; behaviors that would be considered normal are either absent or diminished. For example, people with schizophrenia often lack motivation and appear lazy. They may be much slower to respond than most other people, have little to say when they do speak, and appear as if they have no emotions, or exhibit emotions that are inappropriate to the situation. They may also be unable to get pleasure from the things that most people enjoy or from activities that once brought pleasure to them. Families often get frustrated when a relative with schizophrenia does nothing but sleep or watch TV — they wrongly attribute this behavior to the patient not being willing to assume responsibility or “pull himself up by his bootstraps.”

Negative symptoms are part and parcel of the illness for at
least 25 percent of people with schizophrenia.

Cognitive symptoms: Most people with the disorder suffer from impairments in memory, learning, concentration, and their ability to make sound decisions. These so-called cognitive symptoms interfere with an individual’s ability to learn new things, remember things they once knew, and use skills they once had. Cognitive symptoms can make it hard for a person to continue working at a job, going to school, or participating in activities she may have enjoyed at one time.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, people with schizophrenia may also have sleep problems, mood swings, and anxiety. They may experience difficulties forming and maintaining social relationships with other people. They may look different enough that other people notice that something is very odd or strange about them and that they don’t quite look “normal.” They may have unusual ways of doing things, have peculiar habits, dress inappropriately (such as wearing a heavy coat or multiple layers of clothes in the summer), and/or be poorly groomed, which can discourage other people from getting involved with them.

…and lived happily ever after...

Why “Once upon a time”…they lived “happily ever after” mom?

As kids, our senses were much drawn to these lines on almost everywhere.  On some sense, it’s a bit confusing and perplexing to think that what we are being told of is something that is unknown.

Stories upon stories, its probably the most favorite, used and old lines of writers, storytellers, playwrights and such the like.  We often ignore these but don’t you think it’s about time we look at these tiny facts?

These phrases and lines are long been used by story tellers to imply the uncertainty, their lack of knowledge or just plain creativeness (if that’s what you want to call it) on how it all began and how it all ended.

In some ways, these lines were formulated to trigger our imagination and likewise rely on the challenge given that it is up to our minds as kids or grown ups to fill that empty space that our storytellers left.  Our storytellers might find the beginning both too long and detailed that the story might loose its nature or incomprehensible or complex in the end for fear of destroying the stories’ main purpose.  Or they were simply too tired and exhausted to tell the stories to us on a more detailed manner.

Anyways, the magic of these “lapses” still continues to amaze and bring wonders to kids and grown-ups as well and as the story went…and lived happily ever after”.   

January 1, 2013


The word Yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit language spoken by the traditional religious elite of India, the Brahmins. Yoga means “union” or “integration” and also “discipline,” so the system of Yoga is called a unitive or integrating discipline. Yoga seeks unity at various levels. First, it seeks to unite body and mind, which people all too often separate. Some people are chronically “out of the body.” They can’t feel their feet or the ground beneath them, as if they hover like ghosts just above their bodies. They’re unable to cope with the ordinary pressures of daily life and collapse under stress, and they’re often confused and don’t understand their own emotions. They’re afraid of life and easily emotionally hurt.

Yoga also seeks to unite the rational mind and the emotions. People frequently bottle up their emotions and don’t express their real feelings, choosing instead to rationalize these feelings away. Chronic avoidance can become a serious health hazard; if people aren’t aware that they’re suppressing feelings such as anger, the anger consumes them from the inside out.

Here’s how Yoga can help you with your personal growth:

It can put you in touch with your real feelings and balance your emotional life.
It can help you understand and accept yourself and feel comfortable with who you are. You don’t have to “fake it” or reduce your life to constant role-playing. It helps you become more able to empathize and communicate with others.

Yoga is a powerful means of psychological integration. It makes you aware that you’re part of a larger whole, not merely an island unto yourself. Humans can’t thrive in isolation. Even the most independent individual is greatly indebted to others. After your mind and body are happily reunited, this union with others comes about naturally. The moral principles of Yoga are all-embracing, encouraging you to seek kinship with everyone and everything.

True Character of Yoga

Whenever you hear that Yoga is just this or just that, your nonsense alert should kick into action. Yoga is too comprehensive to reduce to any one thing — it’s like a skyscraper with many floors and numerous rooms at each level. Yoga isn’t just gymnastics, fitness training, huffing and puffing, or a way to control your weight. It’s not just stress reduction, meditation, or some spiritual tradition from India.

Yoga is all these things and a great deal more. (You’d expect as much from a tradition that’s been around for 5,000 years.) Yoga includes physical exercises that look like gymnastics and have even been incorporated into Western gymnastics. These postural exercises help you become or stay fit and trim, control your weight, and reduce your stress level. Yoga also offers a whole range of meditation practices, including breathing techniques that exercise your lungs and calm your nervous system or charge your brain and the rest of your body with delicious energy.

You can also use Yoga as an efficient system of health care that has proven its usefulness in both restoring and maintaining health. Yoga continues to gain acceptance within the medical establishment; more and more physicians are recommending Yoga to their patients not only for stress reduction but also as a safe and sane method of exercise and physical therapy (notably, for the back and knees).

But Yoga is more than even a system of preventative or restorative health care. Yoga looks at health from a broad, holistic perspective that’s only now being rediscovered by avant-garde medicine. This perspective appreciates the enormous influence of the mind — your psychological attitudes — on physical health.

What causes schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a no-fault, equal-opportunity illness most likely caused by a number of factors, both genetic and environmental. Most scientists now accept a two-hit theory for the cause of schizophrenia, which suggests that the genetic susceptibility is compounded by one or more environmental factors:

Genetic susceptibility: Based on family genetic history, some people are more vulnerable to the disorder than other people are.

Environmental factors: In someone genetically predisposed, certain environment factors may come into play, such as:

• Physical trauma that occurs to the fetus during childbirth
• Oxygen-deprivation or some psychological or physical problem that occurs to the mother during pregnancy and affects the developing fetus
• Emotional stress, such as the loss of a parent or loved one during young adulthood.

Although schizophrenia is genetically influenced, more than genetics is involved in its development. Studies of identical twins show that, if one twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin has only a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of also developing the illness. There’s also an increased risk among fraternal twins when one develops schizophrenia, the other has between a 10 percent and 17 percent chance, far less than that of identical twins. Having a parent with schizophrenia also increases a person’s risk of developing the disease, to about 10 percent. And if you have a sibling with the disorder — not your twin — you have a 6 percent to 9 percent chance of developing the disorder yourself.

Scientists still don’t know the precise causes of schizophrenia for any particular individual, yet family members and patients themselves tend to dwell on (or even obsess about) finding a “reason” or a “cause” for the illness. Although this instinct is a natural one, finding the precise cause or explanation is impossible, not to mention counterproductive — finding a reason doesn’t help treatment, and it often creates unnecessary and misplaced guilt, with one family member blaming another.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder characterized by a variety of different symptoms, many of which can dramatically affect an individual’s way of thinking and ability to function. Most scientists think that the disorder is due to one or more problems in the development of the brain that results in neurochemical imbalances, although no one fully understands why schizophrenia develops.

People with schizophrenia have trouble distinguishing what’s real from what’s not. They are not able to fully control their emotions or think logically, and they usually have trouble relating to other people. They often suffer from hallucinations; much of their bizarre behavior is usually due to individuals acting in response to something they think is real but is only in their minds.

Unfortunately, because of the way schizophrenia has been inaccurately portrayed in the media over many decades, the illness is one of the most feared and misunderstood of all the physical and mental disorders. Schizophrenia is a long-term relapsing disorder because it has symptoms that wax and wane, worsen and get better, over time. Similar to many physical illnesses (such as diabetes, asthma, and arthritis), schizophrenia is highly treatable — although it isn’t yet considered curable.

But the long-term outcomes of schizophrenia aren’t as grim as was once believed. Although the disorder can have a course that resulted in long-term disability, one in five persons recovered completely. Some people have only one psychotic episode, others have repeated episodes with normal periods of functioning in between, and others have continuing problems from which they never fully recover.

December 30, 2012

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 2:41-52. 

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. 

After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 

Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." 

And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 

And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man.