Archive for November, 2008

Inefficient Health Care System

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Sunday’s Washington Post tells us something that we’ve known all along but now even the chief executives of America’s preeminent health-care institutions are telling us we are not getting our money’s worth.

Why is that? Denis Cortese, president of the Mayo Clinic; Gary Kaplan, chairman of Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center; George Halvorson, of Kaiser Permanente; these medical leaders are all saying we are not getting what we are paying for. In fact, Gary Kaplan says that as much as half of our $2.3 trillion spent today does not improve health.

There’s more than enough money in the system to pay for health care for all. The United States devotes 16 percent of its gross domestic product to medial care, more than any other nation in the world. We rank 29th in infant mortality, 48th in life expectancy, and 19th out of 19 industrialized nations in preventable deaths.

Dr. Reed Tuckson, physician and executive vice president at United Health Group here in Minneapolis, says we can shift large sums into prevention and wellness. (A novel idea! I have been advocating this for years.

Kaplan, of Seattle, points out that there is no incentive for preventative health care. The doctors, hospitals and clinics are paid by the number of people they see, not the number they keep healthy. Hence my blog.

Only as we U.S. citizens take it upon ourselves to talk with our local and federal legislators will we get changes.

You can read the complete article online at:, November 30, 2008: Page A01

Expressing Gratitude

Friday, November 28th, 2008

How Expressing Your Gratitude (Greatly) Improves Your Well-being as Well as Theirs
“Religions and philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an indispensable manifestation of virtue, and an integral component of health, wholeness, and well-being,” according to University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons. Yet, these days, the simple act of giving thanks gets largely overlooked, save for say one day a year devoted to the occasion. Inherently you may feel that expressing gratitude is a positive thing, but scientific studies are beginning to bear out just how incredibly positive giving thanks can be.
As it turns out, gratitude has been described as the “forgotten factor” in happiness research, according to Emmons, and learning how to harness this factor in your daily life is a simple way to get a lot more out of life.
Being Grateful is Good for Your Mind and Body
Emmons and colleagues, in their gratitude research, have uncovered some startling (in a good way) findings about the power of giving thanks. Consider these amazing benefits:
• Greater Optimism and Physical Fitness: People who kept weekly gratitude journals exercised on a more regular basis, felt better physically and about their lives in general, and had a more optimistic attitude about the upcoming week than people who recorded negative or neutral things in a journal.
• Achieve Your Goals: Those who kept gratitude lists were closer to attaining their personal goals after a two-month period than those who did not.
• Stress Relief: Being grateful is also an effective way to release stress, according to Emmons. “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” he said in a WebMD article.
• Greater Sense of Wellbeing and Positive Emotions: People who are grateful report higher levels of positive emotions, vitality and life satisfaction, and lower levels of depression and stress.
• Helps You Cope With Illness: Among people with a neuromuscular disease, Emmons found that a “21-day gratitude intervention” produced more “high-energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.”
Of course, being grateful is also beneficial for others. Giving thanks helps other people feel recognized, which is a basic and fundamental need in all of us.
How to Give Thanks and be Grateful in Your Daily Life
Taken from:

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

The First Thanksgiving

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation between English colonists and Native Americans.

Native Americans had celebrated an autumn harvest feast for centuries before the first white man appeared on the scene.

Other European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, had a celebration of thanks. Near the Charles River in December 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged “Thanksgiving” to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic.

This legacy of thanks and the feast of thanks have come down through the centuries as people throughout the United States gather family and friends in celebration.

Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621, writes:
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

May we today give thanks as well. Many of us are not so “far from want” but look at what we have to be thankful for.

And let our day of thanks turn into an attitude of thanks. For our emotions (vibrations) lead us into more of the same. The more thankful we are the more things to be thankful for appear in our lives.

The universe (Yahweh God) is creative. But our fears are destructive. Follow the rules of the universe.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Keeping the Brain Fit

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Last November a team from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California said that one computer-based mental training program appeared to improve older people’s cognitive performance by as much as 10 years. Another Harvard researcher found that long-term use of beta-carotene supplements delayed cognitive decline by up to a year and a half.

Studies have shown that if we continue to exercise our brain through many different ways the neuropathways of the brain increase and strengthen.

Lynda Anderson, director of the Healthy Aging Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that past myths about the brain are proven false and that our brain is able to grow and improve.

Alzheimer’s afflicts 4.5 million people in the US. This is twice the number from 1980.

“Statistics show if we could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years, the number of people with the disease would be cut in half,” says Yaakov Stern, a cognitive neuroscientist at Columbia University.

A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people over 75 who danced, read, or played board games or musical instruments had a lower rate of dementia.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that researchers showed that brain cells and neural pathways continue to form until the end of life.

Already in 1999 researchers at the University of Illinois found that older people who exercised showed faster reaction times and better ability to focus after six months than a control group. A second study reported that aerobic exercises actually increased their brain size by about 3 percent.

Read more at U.S. News and World Report, January 31, 2008 “Keeping Your Brain Fit”

TV & Kids

Friday, November 21st, 2008

A study published in the Journal of Law and Economics adds to the information that TV adds up to obesity in children.

Economist Shin-Yi Chou of Lehigh University, a researcher from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), stated that childhood obesity has gripped our culture, but little empirical research has been done to link this to TV.

The paper measured the number of hours of fast food TV advertising messages viewed by children on a weekly basis. It found that a ban on fast food ads during children’s programming would reduce the number of aged 3 to 11 by 18 percent, and lower the number of adolescents aged 12 – 18 by 14 percent.

The study was based on using  US Department of Labor data.

To read the full article go to:, November 20, 2008

Hibiscus Tea Can Lower Blood Pressure

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The government and business co-funded study tested 65 volunteers aged 30 to 70 years whose systolic blood pressure was 120 to 150 and whole diastolic blood pressure was 95 or less when the study began.

The 65 volunteers were split into two groups with one drinking three cups of hibiscus tea per day for six weeks. The other group was given a placebo containing artificial hibsiscus flavoring and color.

Those who drank hibiscus tea had a 7.2 percent drop in their systolic blood pressure compared to 1.3 percent in the placebo group. Those with the highest systolic blood pressure of 129 and above saw the biggest drop.

Burgundy Botanical Extracts, a French hibiscus extract supplier, said their own study showed hibiscus could only help when taken at a daily dose of 3-5 grams, a level not usually reached.

I would encourage my readers to search for themselves and research the areas most important to them. As we have found out that the research is being  done. Just note who does it and what criteria they use. Independent studies are still the best.

For more on hibiscus tea:, November 13, 2008 

Grape Seed Extract

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008


The most commonly known antioxidants are vitamin E and vitamin C. A combination of the two reduces the toxicity of free redicals. But there are other antioxidants as well. One of these is the grape seed proanthocyandin extract (GSPE) which can prevent many developments of various diseases especially with age such as cancer, inflammation, parthenogenesis, ulcerations, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

Pranthocyanidins (PACs) are present in leaves, fruits, pine barks, roots and flowers. Pranthocyanidins are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than vitamin E.

In humans the grape seed proanthocyanidin (GSPE) has a chemical preventive effect and can help deliver a better blood supply by strengthening the blood capillaries and make them less fragile.

As studies continue this sub group of bioflavonoid is becoming a super antioxidant that can cure many diseases.


Grape Seed Extract’s Powerful Cardio Protection

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Byron Richards, CCN

Red Grape Seed Extracts (GSE) are a powerful cardio-protective compound.  It has been known for some time that they strengthen arteries/capillaries, offer rather dramatic antioxidant protection for your arteries and heart, and through a number of mechanisms reduce the likelihood that plaque will form in your arteries. 

New molecular science is showing that the effects of GSE are much more diverse than previously understood.  GSE works actively at the gene transcription level to promote changes favorable to cardiovascular health that include the reduction of inflammation and improved metabolism of cholesterol and triglycerides.  They have even been found to have natural germ-regulating properties and are a potent anti-Candida compound. 

What Are Grape Seed Extracts?

A great deal of grape research has been spurred on by what is known as the French Paradox, i.e., consuming a higher saturated fat diet with far less heart disease.  Red wine has been actively researched in an effort to explain why it may be protective, research that was pioneered back in 1936 by Professor Jacques Masquelier.  Modern day research has validated, explained, and expanded on the earlier findings.  For example, in 2006 researchers pinpointed that a compound in red wine relaxed your circulation and that these compounds were highest in red wines from southwestern France and Sardinia, regions that are associated with increased longevity.  In 2004 researchers found that postmenopausal women consuming red wine absorbed less fat from a meal (compared to those who drank water).  By all means, have red wine in moderation with your largest meal of the day, as desired. 

Polyphenols are a broad group of substances found in all plants.  Flavonoids are one type of polyphenol, and there are thousands of different flavonoids.  Red grapes are a rich source of a type of flavonoid called a proanthocyanidin.  Other common foods that contain some proanthocyanidins are apples, cinnamon, cocoa, cranberry, green tea, and black tea.  White grapes contain proanthocyanidins, but many less than red grapes.  All parts of red grapes contain some proanthocyanidins, including the juice, skins and seeds. 

I would encourage you to read the complete article:

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Colorectal cancer

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Researchers from Vanderbilt University found that low ratios of magnesium and calcium were associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer accounts for 9 percent of new cancer cases every year worldwide with the highest incidence found in the developed world. It is one of the most curable cancers if found early.

High levels of calcium inhibit the absorption of magnesium. But more study may show the right combination of both minerals would lessen the cancer.

This is just the beginning.

Read more at, November 17, 2008

More on Crestor

Saturday, November 15th, 2008


Bernadine Healy, M.D., U.S.News & World Report‘s health editor and author of the magazine’s On Health column, is the former head of the National Institutes of Health, the American Red Cross, and the College of Medicine and Public Health at Ohio State University. A cardiologist and author of two books, she spent more than 25 years practicing medicine. In this blog, she covers matters close to her heart, including cardiovascular disease and other important aspects of personal health and health policy.


 Dr. Healy is a good source for health news as well.

She comments that a dentist, David Jones of Texas, notes that gingivitis causes elevated C-reactive protein (CRP). To my way of thinking the Jupiter trail was just another way to get more drugs into people and money into the pockets of big pharma.

Cancer also has inflammatory properties. In fact the Jupiter study had 612 people show up with cancer. The researchers culled out those who had cancer previously but these 612 were diagnosed during the study.

Dr. Healy also pointed out that a little-noted study in the New England Journal of Medicine with 50,000 patients showed that some people had a lifetime of genetically elevated CRP with no jeopardy for heart attack or stroke.

Read more in Dr. Healy’s column, CRP Heart Test May Lead to Overuse of Statins Like Crestor.