Friday, August 19, 2005

How Music Can Improve Your Health

How Music Can Improve Your Health

Suzanne B. Hanser, EdD
Berklee College of Music

E veryone knows the soothing effect of listening to a favorite piece of music. But until recently, there was little scientific evidence to support its effectiveness in helping to combat specific health problems.

Now: A growing body of research has found that music can affect key areas of the brain that help regulate specific physiological functions necessary for good health. The best choice of music and the time spent listening depends on an individual's needs and preferences. Medical conditions that can be improved by listening to appropriate music...

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

The hypothalamus helps control the autonomic nervous system, which regulates our breathing, heartbeat and other automatic responses in the body. It also is linked to emotional activity. How music helps: When a person listens to music that stimulates positive memories and/or images, the activity of the hypothalamus helps slow a person's heart and respiration rates as well as blood pressure.

Scientific evidence: In a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, 75 adults performed a stressful three-minute math problem. Afterward, they were randomly assigned to sit in silence or listen to classical, jazz or popular music. Those who heard classical selections had significantly lower systolic (top number) blood pressure levels than those who heard no music. Blood pressure did not significantly improve in people who listened to the other selections.

What to do: Observe how you respond to different types of music. Match your state of mind to the tempo and dynamics. Example: If you are agitated, listen to something with a strong, fast beat, then gradually switch to slower and softer music. This can reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

INSOMNIA

Although healthy adults typically fall asleep within 30 minutes, adults age 50 and older often have more trouble falling -- and staying -- asleep. How music helps: Soft, restful music can act as a sedative by reducing the amount of the stress-related neurotransmitter noradrenaline that circulates in the bloodstream.

Scientific evidence: Sixty people ages 60 to 83 who reported sleep difficulties took part in a study at Tzu-Chi General Hospital in Taiwan. After three weeks, researchers found a 35% improvement in sleep quality, length of sleep, daytime dysfunction and sleep disturbances in subjects who listened to slow, soft music at night. The most effective types of music used in the study were piano versions of popular "oldies," New Age, harp, classical and slow jazz.

What to do: Make sure your bedroom temperature is comfortable, then lie in bed at your usual bedtime, with the lights out (light interferes with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin) and your eyes closed while listening to music. Experiment with different types of music until you discover what's relaxing for you. If you wake during the night, try listening to music again.

PAIN

Listening to music does not eliminate pain, but it can help distract your brain by creating a secondary stimulus that diverts your attention from the feeling of discomfort.

Scientific evidence: In a 14-day study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66 older adults with osteoarthritis pain sat quietly for 20 minutes daily, while another group listened to music. Those who listened to music reported a significant decrease in pain.

What to do: For pain reduction, it's important to identify music that engages you -- that is, it should elicit memories and/or make you want to tap your foot, sway or even dance. Singing, which requires deep breathing, or using a simple percussion instrument (such as chimes or a drum), which does not require playing specific notes, also helps.


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Bottom Line/Health interviewed Suzanne B. Hanser, EdD, chair of the music therapy department at Berklee College of Music in Boston and past president of the American Music Therapy Association and the World Federation of Music Therapy. She is a research associate at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, also in Boston, where she investigates medical applications of music therapy.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

7 Power Centers

Guided Tour - Part 2: "The concept of an invisible network linking us all together was once considered 'new agey' or 'way out.' In fact, for the first ten years I was sharing the concept with others, there was absolutely no scientific evidence documenting it -- just anecdotal and experiential evidence.

Now, however, scientists from all over the world, including Harvard University, Stanford Research Institute, and various other private institutions have recently documented its existence. The technical term most often used to describe it is 'The Zero Point Field.'
In my earlier work, I called it 'the invisible network,' but in the new 7 Power Centers of Life work, I also refer to it as 'The Field.'

Haven't there been times when you knew something was going to happen before it happened? There have been times when you knew who was calling before you picked up the phone, haven't there?

Maybe you've had the experience of knowing what someone else was thinking or what they were going to say before they said it. You've had "hunches" or insights you labeled as coming from intuition, sixth-sense, instinct, gut, etc. -- that proved to be accurate, haven't you?
Where do you think the knowledge in those situations came from?

Stare at anyone, even through a car window at a stoplight, and they'll turn to look directly at you. They'll "feel" you staring at them, and know exactly which way to turn their head to lock eyes with you. How do you think they know you're looking at them, which direction to turn their head, and where to focus their eyes?

7 Power Centers of Life Guided Tour - Part 5: "every course, interaction and 'touch point' with The Ultimate Lifestyle Academy: Humility and a true desire to serve. In other words, The Ultimate Lifestyle Academy is an 'ego free zone'

No fluff, nonsense, or hype -- just grounded and proven Truth that works and truly helps you transform your life

I want to change lives and empower people on a massive scale throughout the world. I want to have maximum impact on those whose lives I'm able to touch. "
"

Thursday, August 11, 2005

MS patients making positive improvements

"a study from the University of Florida tells us that resistance training also can help those whose muscles have been weakened by multiple sclerosis walk better and reduce fatigue.

In the study, eight patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) ages 25 to 55 participated in a program that focused on exercising the legs, the lower back and the abdomen. Sessions lasted for 30 minutes, two times a week, and there was at least a 48-hour rest between exercise sessions. Conventional weight machines, typical of those found in any gym, were used. Subjects were supervised by trained exercise physiologists during all sessions.

There were no negative outcomes to weight training and no MS flair-ups were reported during the study. At the end of the eight weeks, patients had significantly stronger leg muscles, as evaluated by a machine called the isokinetic dynamometer. All patients were able to walk better, walk longer and reported less fatigue. More than half of the participants continued weight training after the study, Lesley White, PhD, lead researcher, reported.

The good news is that it appears from this study that MS patients are capable of making positive improvements in muscle strength through exercise, just as nonimpaired persons are. To substantiate these findings, a four-month strength-training study is under way."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Go for it Dalai Lama They all need your help!!


“Davidson is a respectable scientist,” he says, “but he has put his respectability on the line with this.” Davidson defends his work as the first step in a new field. “Meditation research is in its infancy,” he says. He helped to arrange the Dalai Lama’s talk at the SfN meeting, to be held on 12–16 November. He says that criticism of the lecture on scientific grounds is misplaced, because the Dalai Lama is not claiming to be a scientist. “He merely wants to increase scientific attention on the topics that he thinks are important for human welfare,” Davidson says. The lecture is the first in a new series organized by the SfN, billed as “dialogues between neuroscience and society”.

Controversial HPV Vaccine Stirs Up Yet More Trouble

Controversial HPV Vaccine Stirs Up Yet More Trouble

Last year when I wrote about the HPV vaccine, developed to fight the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer, I voiced concern about its safety and efficacy given that it was new and had been approved very quickly by the FDA (see Daily Health News, January 23, 2006). Many of these concerns remain, while new politically based controversies have arisen. Led by Texas (which since changed course), numerous states jumped to propose making the vaccination mandatory for all girls entering the sixth-grade. Given, however, that HPV is normally transmitted sexually, not through casual contact as is the case with other viruses (such as measles, mumps and rubella, for instance) in which childhood vaccines are mandated, this enthusiastic legislative response appears to be driven by politics and corporate greed rather than public health concerns, some speculate.

BIG PHARMA STRIKES AGAIN

Consumer advocacy groups and the news media are quick to blame Merck, manufacturer of the vaccine, for the tactics it employed in promoting the vaccine's use. First and foremost, the vaccine was tested in only a small sample of girls under 16 (fewer than 1,200) and as a new vaccine it has no track record for safety, I was told by Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a national, non-profit, educational organization dedicated to the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths. Secondarily, she adds, the majority of Americans do not want state governments forcing this kind of decision upon their families. There was clearly a groundswell of opposition to the mandated vaccine from all sides, hence the bill for it being overturned in the state of Texas. Some oppose it due to safety concerns... others because it tramples on parents' rights. A recent survey confirmed this opposition. In a University of Michigan Health System poll, only 44% of parents supported the mandatory HPV vaccine. The rest were neutral or opposed. Nonetheless, the manufacturers have succeeded in promoting their extraordinarily profitable materials as "necessary for the public's safety."

QUESTIONABLE MARKETING TACTICS

There's no doubt that vaccines mean big money for big business. In June 2006, pharmaceutical giant Merck received approval for its vaccine, sold under the name "Gardasil," from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after clinical trials showed very positive results, leading the FDA to speed its approval under its "priority review process." Shortly thereafter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation for its use in girls ages 11 and 12, followed within a few months by a huge advertising campaign from Merck, featuring young girls jumping rope and chanting "I want to be one less, one less" on TV and in magazines. Simultaneously, the company launched an aggressive behind-closed-doors lobbying effort in state after state to require the vaccination for all girls entering sixth grade or of middle-school age. The projected revenue for Gardasil should the mandates pass is hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Serious questions about a conflict of interest arose in Texas earlier this year. Literally the same day Governor Rick Perry's chief of staff met with Merck execs, the drug company made a significant contribution to Perry's campaign (as well as those of eight other Texas legislators). One of the Merck lobbyists in Texas is the governor's former chief of staff, and the governor is also closely aligned with Women in Government, a non-profit bi-partisan advocacy group of women legislators that receives money from Merck. Similar concerns have arisen in other states, including Florida, Virginia and Maryland, suggesting that Merck is more or less buying its way into the mandates.

Then there is the fact of Merck's recent poor track record for drug safety. Multi-million dollar lawsuits continue against the company for its osteoarthritis medication rofecoxib (Vioxx), abruptly pulled from the market in 2004 after causing heart attacks and stroke. It turned out that Merck had been aware of these cardiovascular risks for years, but covered them up. (Interestingly, Vioxx received a six-month priority review just as Gardasil did.) Now there are safety questions about another Merck drug, alendronate (Fosamax), which is used to treat osteoporosis. (For more on the dangers of Fosamax, see the January 18, 2007 issue of Daily Health News.)

SERIOUS HEALTH CONCERNS PERSIST

Politics aside, Fisher continues to have health concerns about the HPV vaccine, including...

  • Insufficient study. In Fisher's opinion, Merck and the FDA have not been completely honest with the American people about the pre-licensure clinical trials. The HPV vaccine has been studied in fewer than 1,200 girls under age 16, yet is being recommended for all girls 11 and 12.
  • Safety. There were 385 Gardasil adverse events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) during the last six months of 2006. These included collapse into unconsciousness and seizures in the doctor's office after vaccination or in the next 24 hours. Two-thirds of those affected required additional medical care, and nearly one-third of all reports (where age was reported) were for girls 16 or younger. One out of four of these reactions occurred when Gardasil was administered along with other vaccines. As a result, NVIC is calling on the FDA and CDC to issue warnings that Gardasil should not be combined with other vaccines, and that girls be monitored for fainting, seizures, tingling, numbness and loss of sensation in the fingers and limbs for 24 hours after vaccination.
  • Long-term effectiveness. At Merck's urging, the FDA agreed to fast-track the HPV vaccine in February 2006, and it was approved that June. Although testing was limited -- particularly in the age group for which the mandate is proposed -- some speculate it was in Merck's best financial interests to roll out the vaccine as soon as possible so that it could achieve market domination before GlaxoSmithKline introduced its own version. Rarely has a vaccine this new been granted such a rapid and sweeping mandate after FDA approval, observes Fisher. The process typically takes five to six years -- as it should, to verify there are no long-term health risks.
  • Necessity. Fisher notes that cervical cancer causes less than one percent of all cancers and cancer deaths (between 3,000 and 4,000 US deaths annually). In contrast, tobacco is implicated in an estimated 438,000 American deaths each year.

So, I ask, if the government is going to legislate health, why not ban tobacco? Why instead mandate a controversial vaccine that impacts only a very narrow portion of the population, putting them at risk for side effects?

  • Cost. At $360 for a three-shot regimen, Gardasil is unusually expensive and not all insurance plans may cover it. However, if the vaccine is mandated, insurance coverage is far more likely. Clearly that will make the people at Merck very happy. Fisher points out that because a competing HPV vaccine is in the pipeline, Merck is highly motivated to seize and dominate the market before a rival pharmaceutical firm steps in.
  • Public health impact. There is no evidence that the HPV vaccines will eliminate all HPV strains or cervical cancer. The vaccine targets two high-risk HPV strains that are known to cause cervical cancer and two low-risk types that are know to cause genital warts. However, FDA and CDC officials have questioned whether other high-risk HPV strains will eventually replace those controlled by widespread use of the vaccine and continue to cause disease. It is not knownn if boosters will be needed and long-term safety is also unknown.

A PERSONAL DECISION

To find out whether legislation is under consideration in your state to mandate the HPV vaccine for young girls, visit the Web site of the National Conference of State Legislatures at www.ncsl.org/programs/health/HPVvaccine.htm. If you learn that a mandate may be instituted, most states allow exemption to vaccination for medical reasons and for sincerely held religious beliefs. Only about 17 states allow exemptions for personal or philosophical beliefs. This may mean that your daughter would be excluded from attending public school if you cannot obtain one of these exemptions.

In the long run, the HPV vaccine may or may not prove to be safe and effective. Only time will tell -- and I'd argue, we need to let more time pass before making such a big decision. In the meantime, meet with your physician, review its pros and cons from unbiased sources, and come to an independent decision about what's best for your family. Be careful though, since all sides have strong opinions. Most physicians are influenced by their specialty and state medical societies, while consumer organizations questioning the safety of vaccines are often influenced by personal experience with vaccine reactions. The complexities of this issue may make it difficult to get a clear answer from any single source. Ideally, this is a personal decision that you should be able to make without inappropriate government, social or medical interference.

Source(s):

Barbara Loe Fisher, President, National Vaccine Information Center, www.909shot.com

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

US Food and Drug Administration, www.fda.gov

Sunday, August 07, 2005

All misdeeds great and small

I wonder who paid for this study...
Article 1: "Public trust in the integrity and ethical behavior of scholars must be maintained if research is to continue to play its proper role in our university and society.'

Item 2: The US Office of Research Integrity recently made changes to its ethics rules, including "reviewing" as part of its definition of misconduct--meaning a reviewer who plagiarizes an application for federal funding can be charged with misconduct. The change is apparently inspired by allegations of plagiarism in peer reviewers of applications for NIH funds.

Crisis? Again, no; again, vigilance is required and the occasional miscreants should be "named and shamed."

Item 3: A commentary with the tantalizing title 'Scientists behaving badly.' (3) This turns out not to be lewd tabloid revelations but a survey of the professional conduct of several thousand researchers. "US scientists engage in a range of behaviors extending far beyond falsification, fabrication and plagiarism (FFP)" the authors conclude. Actually the series of misdemeanors are less serious, than, not far beyond, FFP. But the collective admission of guilt is shockingly high. One-third of scientists admitted to at least one transgression from a list of 16 that range from questionable to intolerable. These included 15% who changed the design, methods, or results of their research under pressure from a sponsor, 12.5% who overlooked other scientists' use of flawed data or questionable interpretations, 7% who ignored "minor rules" involving research subjects, and, 6% who withheld data that contradicted their previous conclusions.

Crisis? It possibly is. The full extent of these questionable practices is unknown, their growth over time is unexplored, their impact is undiscovered and the proper response to them is unclear. Clearly more study is needed.

"The level of competition in science has absolutely skyrocketed," lead author Brian Martinson was quoted saying in one paper. "There is often a level of desperation that may lead people to behave badly." (4) But with no historical data, we can't blindly accept this as a recent and growing problem.

Re-education in ethics--especially for more senior scientists, who are more likely to offend--must be another priority. We may need a precise code of practice, along with enforceable penalties.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

All this have consciousness

The begining of the mind research...
INDIGENOUS WEATHER MODIFICATION: "All Things Have Some Consciousness
The world view of Ifa differs from the world view of mainstream Western metaphysics in two ways; Ifa teaches that everything in nature has some form of consciousness called ori, and it teaches that the world is a multi-dimensional reality. Most forms of shamanism teach the idea that the visible world is influenced by invisible worlds that co-exist in the same dimensional space as the physical world. The invisible realms are usually called 'Spirit Worlds'. The word 'spirit' means 'essential nature' or 'essence'. From a shamanistic point of view Spirits are fundamental Forces in Nature that help shape the physical reality perceived by the senses in a non-altered state of consciousness.
Ifa teaches that all things in the world have some form of consciousness. The first step in developing the shamanistic skills of an Ifa initiate is to learn how to empathize with the consciousness of non human Forces in Nature"

Friday, August 05, 2005

DNA modified foods and intestinal bacteria

SO WHAT ARE WE REALLY CREATING?
I TELL MY CELLS WHAT I WANT!
YOU CAN TOO

Google Groups : sci.bio.evolution: "Usually with a nice little creature called Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This
actually inserts a portion of its genome into a plant it infects, causing
the cells to become cancerious and, cleverly, to secrete a substance known
as octopine, which very few organisms can use a carbon source. Agrobacterium
is of course one of the few, so it enjoys a monopoly food supply.

By removing the tumour and octopine genes from the transfer DNA, and
inserting a gene of interest, we can genetically engineer plants, with a
certain amount of hassle getting the transformed cells to regenerate into
whole plants.
(If you are wondering how to genetically engineer Agrobacterium, that is
relatively easy. The DNA is on a plasmid which the bacteria can be induced
to take up with minimal hassles, for genetic engineering).

The problem is we don't know how to control the site of integration, and it
may be that DNA which has integrated is less stable than other DNA. Also for
technical reasons the DNA needs an antibiotic resistance marker gene. There
are new protocols for getting these out of the released plants, but they add
cost to the engineering procedure. There is a theoretical possibility of
these antibiotic resistance genes getting into bacteria. However the genes
originally came from the bacterial gene pool anyway, so it is not really a
very serious concern to most scientists, though the media have jumped on it
because genetically engineered superbug make a nice story. "

POWER FOR WHO : sci.bio.evolution

There are hundreds of ways to generate energy and power for our civilizations. However the power/oil monopy is secured all POLITICAL authority, and will continue to profit if no new methods are developed regardless of what science puts together..


Google Groups : sci.bio.evolution: "Scientists have been exploring the microbiology of deep-sea hydrothermal
vents - geysers that form along volcanic mid-ocean ridges - using submersible vessels for almost 30 years. Until now, life in this environment was thought to depend on chemotrophic bacteria, although the identification of low-level illumination in the form of 'vent glow' gave a tantalizing hint that photosynthesis was a possibility.

Beatty et al. investigated whether geothermal illumination could support photosynthesis by analysing samples taken from the effluent plume of a type of vent known as a black smoker located at the East Pacific rise. Enrichment culturing yielded a non-motile bacterium that has been named GSB1. Analysis of the absorption and emission spectra of intact GSB1 cells isolated in pure culture - with major peaks at 750 nm and 775 nm, respectively - indicated the presence of light-harvesting bacteriochlorophyll c.

Further analysis by electron microscopy revealed the presence of light-harvesting chlorosomes, structures that are commonly found in green sulphur bacteria. Light energy is transferred to the chlorosome reaction centre through the Fenna?Matthews?Olson (FMO) protein; PCR using FMO-specific primers amplified a 970-bp FMO segment from GSB1, and sequence analysis led the authors to conclude that GSB1 is a green sulphur bacterium related to the Chlorobium and Prosthecochloris genera. For growth, GSB1 requires anaerobic growth conditions, sulphur in the form of elemental sulphur or H2S, CO2 and light."