Israel Gaza dreams of unreachable stress

Yesterday, upon a stair
I saw a man
Who was not there.
He was not there
Again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away.

Sometimes misunderstandings lead to stress and further lead to violence. Studies of Psycholinguistics often demonstrates how complex language might be in relationships. Writer Deborah Tannen shows how fights erupt through language. Sometimes words and phrases can result in stress. While words may be mightier than swords, rockets may speak action. Their language may be unclear. Israel and Gaza are under stress and few understand the words, meanings, and motivations.

When you witness, according to the media, the wage of war between Israel and Gaza, stress comes to mind of all the involved players. Let’s discuss some background history behind the Israel/Gaza conflict.

Since 2007 when, as a peace effort, Gaza was partitioned for independence. Hamas, the elected ruling party, didn’t hunger to create a Palestinian country. Its hunger would only be satisfied by annoying Israel with rockets. Ironically, Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel. Satisfying stress by firing rockets at a non-entity is a waste of energy and only produces more stress. Stress is involved in forming alliances and in waging war. Unfortunately, the invisibility of Israel becomes very visible when it answers Hamas’ call.

We could be grateful to the Greek Septuagint, an early Greek translation of the Old Testament when Greece ruled the middle-East (before it was the middle-East). Greece came up with the name Palestine. A derivitave of the name “Palestine” first appears in Greek literature in the 5th Century BCE when the historian Herodotus called the area “Palaistinē”. After a Jewish revolt against Rome, some 700 years later, the land of Judea was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. When Turkey dominated the area, for 400 years, from 1517 to 1917, the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; it was not an official designation. In fact, many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in Palestine during this time period referred to the area as “Southern Syria” and not as “Palestine.”

Translating ancient Hebrew, the Greeks often made some errors. The term Palestine may have been the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip. The Bible refers to the Philistines as enemies of the Israelites.

After Saladin conquered the Crusades, he allowed Jews to re-enter the areas where Rome had forbidden. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea. Very few Arabs lived in those areas until the past 70 years or so. That area of western Israel has been populated by Jews for at least 1,000 years.

Gaza does have a claim to fame under Saladin who conquered the Crusades in the 12th century. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 designated a mandate for a Jewish area in what Britain referred as Palestine. As, under the Turks, that meant the land South of Syria and including part of what is now Jordan. Since 1948, when the Arabs fought United Nations mandated Israel and lost, Palestine was now being recognized by Arabs. For over 400 years, it was the land south of Syria and few Arabs were attracted to it. If we follow the Greek mistake, are the Palestinians actually Israel’s legendary enemy reborn? Are they the Philistines?

Stress is a state of living. If there is no stress, there is death. Where stress becomes chronic, it becomes conflict. Conflicts breed alliances or wars. For the Gazans and Israelis living near Gaza, the stress is basic.

Scientist, Hans Selye, made Stress as a concept of being vey popular. Dr. Selye’s initial discovery of the stress syndrome was based on the demonstration that the body nonspecifically responded in virtually the same way to various innocuous stimuli or stressors. Dr. Selye advanced the theory that stress plays a role in every disease, and that failure to cope with or adapt to stressors can produce “diseases of adaptation”, including ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks. He called his theory the “General Adaptation Syndrome.” This adaptation uses energy and the stress of that energy to adapt leads to exhaustion. After exhaustion, the cycle repeats itself.

In basic, stress can be seen as a hunger. If a primitive sought food but the food was beyond reach, he would seek an ally to help get the food. That’s an alliance that alleviates the stress from hunger. If someone decided to hoard all the food in exchange for forced work, that would be a conflict. Conflict resolution and conflict management strategies are devices that people use to suppress stress and resolve conflicts within relationships. When conflicts can’t be resolved, unsatisfied hunger becomes war. Fight for right! Or is it fight or flight?

The problem is that most individuals don’t do well in fight or flight situations. Living under threats of bombing attacks may be adaptable but are also very stressful.

When you are a Gazan or an Israeli family, there are daily hungers waiting to be satisfied. Buy food and clothing for family. Send kids to school, do necessary work, and live from one day to another. When a rocket from Gaza hits your home, it’s a stress inducing experience. Likewise when Israel bombs Gaza, people suffer stress. Severe stress.

Is one side correct in the Gaza-Israel conflict? If Hamas would cease shooting hundreds or thousands of rockets into Israel as its main strategy and policy to rule and create Gaza, a response is inevitable. Israel is responding with more rockets, and stronger rockets.

Much of this come from errors by host keepers of peace, the United States and Russia. The influencers are to arm each country to keep the peace. It’s good for economics through weapon sales and the belief that arms are defensive and not offensive.

So all Arab nations have rockets and some provide Gaza with them. What does Israel do?

The middle-east is a powder keg of stress that is exploding. There’s Egypt, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Perhaps the quietest of the bunch is Iran. It may have yet another weapon gestating that might even be deadlier.

While stress is part of life, constant and unpredictable stress may prove fatal. The consequences of war, among soldiers and among civilians, result in enduring stress and many personal conflicts. Sometimes you need to quench stress by its roots.

Peace is a nice idea and is like Selye’s concept of exhaustion. Yet, it’s a never-ending cycle. Fight or flight is about survival of the fittest. Peace through survival comes at heavy prices. Fighting and bearing the costs are, in some cases, the only things that net value.

Israel and Gaza may be dreaming of unreachable stress. That stress is here and its coming. Unlike other wars, we can only hope that adaptation loses to eventual resolve. Peace is the prize.

In the conflicts and stress we confront each day and the tensions of reshaping lifestyles, the fight is always the most enduring. I really wish it’d go away but it’s no illusion. The solution may be a delusion. The Philistines may have risen and the ancient wars return anew. Do the world, the people, the soldiers understand the language?

Beta-Glucans immune system booster in Cheerios

There’s a cute TV commercial where a little girl talks about beta-glucans and their content in each serving of Cheerios, a popular oat-based cereal. Beta-glucans are often associated with heart health, treating cancer, and as an immunity booster. Beta-glucans are a food product purported to possibly reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

It is thought that beta-glucans reduce cholesterol levels by increasing excretion of cholesterol from the digestive tract. This affects two forms of cholesterol: cholesterol from food, and, more importantly, cholesterol from the blood “recycled” by the liver through the intestines. In addition, beta-glucans in unprocessed foods may help limit the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. Immune-related effects seen in studies of beta-glucans indicate observed alterations in the activity of certain white blood cells and changes in the levels or actions of substances, called cytokines, that modulate immune function.

A beta-glucan refers to a class of soluble fibers found in many plant sources. In a sense, you are what you eat. Beta-glucans are found in fiber of certain foods you (hopefully) eat. Beta-glucans are found in whole grains, particularly oats, wheat, and barley. Baker’s yeast, and certain mushrooms are also dietary sources. The FDA has allowed a Heart Healthy label claim for food products containing substantial amounts of beta-glucans. There are scientific claims that consumption of 3 grams per day of beta-glucans may result in a 5-10% reduction of LDL cholesterol in serum tests. According to Cheerios’ ad, a serving of Cheerios contains 3 grams of beta-glucans in its basic oat-based variety.

Europeans have known about how beta-glucans may play a role at reducing LDL cholesterol. They incorporate unprocessed oats and oat bran into cereals like Muesli and Granola. Oat bread is popular in some areas. For those that have mild risk levels of cholesterol, beta-glucans may play a significant normalizing role from dietary sources. Does that mean that eating more oats will reduce LDL levels in moderately high cholesterol levels?

Multiple servings of ready-to-eat oat cereals may not provide enhanced health effects. Other ingredients (added sugars, for example) and processing may actually present negative cofactors. Studies cite evidence that oatmeal provides greater satiety of appetite than ready-to-eat cereals like Cheerios. Also, many ready-to-eat cereals add unnecessary sugars and flavors to make them marketable to general market consumption. These can collide against any possible benefits beta-glucans provide. Monitoring glycemic-index at breakfast meals aids energy throughout the day and diet is a part of managing cholesterol. Food technologists are working to help enhance the benefits of beta-glucans in a wider range of foods.

For improving total and LDL cholesterol, studies have found benefit with beta-glucans at doses ranging from 3 to 15 grams daily. There appears to be no effect on HDL.

Yet, for all this possible benefit as a healthy dietary resource for heart healthier approaches to managing cholesterol and sugar levels, diets higher in beta-glucans may also pose danger and risks. Beta-glucan, as a substance widely present in foods, if taken in high doses through dietary supplements may do more harm than benefit. If beta-glucans can stimulate the immune system, harmful effects are at least theoretically possible in people that have overactive immune systems. These include multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and hundreds of other conditions. To what extent may be unclear. Beta-glucans may be contributing variables.

In addition, beta-glucans are somewhat related with beta-amyloids. Beta-amyloids, some suspect, may be precursors of cognitive disorders, such as the infamous Alzheimer Disease. From food, beta-glucans prove safe. Abused supplementation has not been studied but theoretically might be a bridge to neurocognitive disorders. Then again, the relationship between glucans and amyloids haven’t really been studied to draw any conclusions. It is very speculative.

In the USA, and other parts of the world, sowing oats is part of an important farming culture. It is connected to longevity and a well life. Beta-glucans, phytonutrients in the grain, may be why people who have balanced diets with oats as part of a daily routine may be healthier. There are many articles about longevity that stress lifestyle diets.

World peace may never be achievable. Vascular wellness may be possible without resorting to medicinal drugs. Eating foods with beta-glucans may help you reach a healthy age of 100, unless something else confounds the picture. Having beta-glucans in your diet might be good for you! Isn’t it time to eat your oats today?

Toe-off braces against foot drop

While most evident with aging, foot drop is a condition when ankle muscles or nerve signals cause your foot to drop when walking. Foot drop makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot, so it might drag on the floor when you walk. It can affect people of different ages as well. While some mild foot drop conditions respond to physical therapy, moderate to severe cases often require a brace that helps reposition your foot to a normal gait. The Allard Toe-off is one such brace and the best of its kind. There are others as foot drop is more common than most people think. Statistics are difficult to ascertain because so many people function with foot drop and don’t recognize the mobility challenge. Certain diseases, however, make it a clearly disabling symptom. Toe-Off makes that disability somewhat less disabling for young and old challenged walkers.

Foot drop can be associated with a variety of conditions such as flexor injuries, peripheral nerve injuries, stroke, neuropathies, drug toxicities, or diabetes. Basically, Foot drop can be defined as a significant weakness of ankle and toe dorsiflexion during movement as you walk and stand. You drag your foot while walking. Some compensate when approached by hills and steps by elevating the hip. The result is a Frankenstein-monster like foot drop that results in imbalance and consequences like frequent falls. On level ground, the feet drag on the surface. Carpets and walkway cracks can often be threatening as a foot fails to lift.

Allard ToeOFF is a leader among several manufacturers making devices known as Ankle Foot Orthoses for children and adults to help cope with chronic foot drop. These are braces that fit into shoes and create a rocking motion at the base of the foot. It helps the foot simulate a smooth walking gait by lifting the toes off the ground, as evident in foot drop cases.

Foot drop may also be evident in young babies who have difficulties toddling at toddling ages. They have difficulty standing and walking. Pediatricians may recommend a Supra Malleolar Orthosis (SMO) if the child is 18 months or older.

Up to age 3, the diagnosis is usually hypotonia. Hypotonia is the medical term for decreased muscle tone. Healthy muscles are never fully relaxed. They retain a certain amount of tension and stiffness (muscle tone) that can be felt as resistance to movement. When it comes to orthotic management of pediatric patients with hypotonia, the medical literature is only beginning to document the effectiveness that clinicians have been reporting anecdotally for years. There may be several reasons for hypotonia in babies, including nerve, muscle, and metabolic syndromes.

An SMO is shorter than an AFO and usually has a baby-friendly decoration. It will help babies stand. Walking may require physical therapies. Sometimes a pediatric physiatrist (medical specialist in rehabilitation medicine) may organize a team of multifaceted supporters. Small studies indicate that the SMO with phased rehabilitation may help children overcome foot drop and walking issues within a couple years. After that, genetic testing may be required to determine whether hypotonia is more of a symptom of another disease than a condition itself.

Hypotonia is not the same as muscle weakness, although it can still be difficult to use the affected muscles. Depending on the cause, weakness may sometimes develop in association with hypotonia. As people age, muscle weaknesses may develop along with normall loss of lean tissues. Hypotonia influences the movement, condition, and action of muscles.

Foot drop is very evident in diseases like Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, CMT, Stroke, and Multiple Sclerosis patients. An Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) helps relieve foot drop. It resembles a brace but it fits in most of your shoes. Worn beneath long pants or skirts, an AFO is practically invisible.

While an AFO may not directly repair dorsiflexor problems or neuro-muscular conditions, it helps deliver a near-normal gait when walking. The key is near-normal but that is a vast improvement. You may experience difficulty ascending and descending stairs. Your speed may be slow, but significantly faster than dragging. Your maneuverability may be somewhat compromised. Compared to foot drop, an AFO is a very significant mobilizer for the somewhat immobilized.

The Dorsi-strap is the least invasive AFO and also relatively inexpensive in the $150 range. While users should first consult a sports medicine doctor about using it, purchase does not require a prescription. The manufacturer seems to promote its use as a cure-all, even supportive for obese and big people, but the Dorsi-strap is really only effective for very mild foot-drop conditions.

For moderate and severe foot drop, dynamic braces are often prescribed. These are light, generally made of carbon fiber, a foot-length foundation is placed in your shoe and covered with shoe’s (or your) orthotic. A vertical support goes up and the brace attaches to your leg by one or two Velcro straps. A dynamic response Orthosis helps support a stable, balanced gait for walking and enable better posture while doing so. These are expensive but when you’re immobilized, they help you become (somewhat) mobile. They are covered by Medicare and most insurance providers.

Some people might say that, if you’re immobile, why not get a wheelchair or scooter? It’s a good question from an outsider’s view. There are classes of stubborn immobilized adults who want the illusion of mobility as a biped (not including cane support) in a world designed for most healthy people that can walk normally. There are fewer doctors and people aware of dynamic AFO devices so few are seen. They are used, though a minority compared to wheelchair devices.

Among dynamic AFO manufacturers, Allard’s Toe-Off family recognizes this for adults with varying degrees of disability. They also remember children who can suffer at many levels when confined to wheelchairs when they have foot drop as a main concern. Allard’s KiddieGAIT offers innovative options that have never been available for AFO management of these challenges. Functional environments can be created that supplement gait function instead of immobilizing and inhibiting that function.

Designed to provide dynamic toe-off assist with maximum control for the unstable ankle, Toe-Off is available in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large to fit children through adults. The unique, patented design features a lateral strut which “wraps” over the instep to provide maximum medial-lateral and rotational control of the foot and ankle complex, when none or little normally exist. Approximate weight variations are Size 01 (XS) weighs 3.6 oz., Size 02 (S) weighs 4 oz., Size 03 (M) weighs 4.9 oz., Size 04 (L) weighs 6.4 oz. & Size 05 (XL) weighs 6.7 oz. This permits an almost invisible sense of added weight. There is, however, a training period to get accustomed to the rocking support of these braces. Significantly advantageous, the Toe-off AFO fits into the shoe like an insole and accommodates most shoes without having to increase shoe size. New Balance sneakers are recommended for daily use.

Beyond the KiddieGAIT and the regular Toe-Off AFO, Allard has introduced the Toe-Off BlueRocker to their AFO family. BlueRocker is identical in shape and design as Toe-Off but offers more orthotic control. It is developed primarily for bilateral patients and those with more involved pathology. The extra stability will improve both balance and posture and give the wearer greater security, especially individuals with weak quadricep muscles.

It is also the most preferred orthosis to be used in conjunction with a socket and toe filler for management of partial foot amputations. Every BlueRocker should be padded on the inside towards the tibia crest. The SoftKIT padding system is designed specifically for use with BlueRocker for optimum patient comfort and product performance.

There are several other dynamic response AFO brands available for all degrees of foot drop. Helios (Helical Energy Loading Integrated Orthotic System) focuses on the category that the Toe-off BlueRocker targets. Helios is quite different as it does not use Velcro straps but requires a custom wrap-around shell for additional support. The double-helical construction is designed to correct skeletal structural deformities and provide an increase in walking function. This unique energy loading design offers the potential of normal walking. Because of its energy return in walking, the manufacturer claims there is less fatigue. Like the Toe-Off, it targets muscular dystrophy, peripheral neuropathy, CMT, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Polio, and many other neurological and muscular diseases that compromise function of the dorsiflexor.

If you find walking painful and your feet are consistently dragging, find a physiatrist or sports medicine doctor. These doctors study and serve patients with movement disorders. Orthopedists primarily deal with bones. A thorough exam will help form a diagnosis. Physical therapy may help most people. If it doesn’t, an AFO may be prescribed. Use a recommended practitioner.

I was advised to go to Prothotic Laboratory for my AFO orthosis. While there are hospitals and other providers, this place was highly recommended by my physiatrist. David Zwicker is their certified orthotist and was a pleasure to work with. He suggested the Toe-Off and considered the basic model as satisfactory. I must admit that, once I put the Toe-Off on, it seemed a radical improvement. As with a cane, I’d advise moving up to the Toe-Off BlueRocker for maximum strength and support, though it does require a suitable get-comfortable period. Zwicker offers seasoned experience and provides an intuitive, independent approach to help maximize comfort. When using an AFO device, your relationship with the orthotist is very important. Do not get an AFO unless you are certain that your orthotist is right for you. If you are in the New York City area, David Zwicker of Prothotics offers excellent service, although many pediatricians and physiatrists offer AFO and SMO devices.

There are varying degrees of foot drop and many reasons behind it. There’s no assurance that a dynamic AFO will get you running or even fast-walking. In cases of muscular dystrophy (and my Myotonic dystrophy), happiness comes from the ability to walk without foot drop, or the use of a wheeled scooter. The myotonia is still there and instability and weakness may dominate. Using the Toe-off offers significant help in walking from point-A to Point-B. Without the Toe-off AFO, trying to walk is a monstrous challenge. Be thankful that world technology is designing products to help the significant few sample the illusion of normalcy again.

Ultimately, an AFO or SMO is an aid to enhance mobility against foot drop due to weak muscles and nerves. Seeking medical or rehabilitation help may be advised to avoid accidents or falls is advisable.

Do foods seem to linger? You may have GERD

You just ate a big meal with lots of different foods and drinks. You seem tired, sit on your comfy chair and watch TV. Suddenly, you feel a progressive pain creeping up from your stomach area to your upper chest. Is it a heart attack or is it heartburn? Unless you have cardiac issues, those symptoms are caused by the foods you ate. You may be in a class that 20% of Americans share. You may have GERD.

Once upon a time, about 60 years ago, it was believed that highly stressed people were more likely to develop an ulcer, an acidic deterioration of a stomach lining. As time went on, and gastrointestinal doctors found new methods of detecting those simple post food binge eating, GERD became the cause of heartburn. Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) disease occurs when the amount of gastric juice that refluxes into the esophagus exceeds the normal limit. GERD is a normal physiologic phenomenon experienced intermittently by most people, particularly after a meal. If you are GERD sensitive, the results can be painful and frightening. GERD has replaced ulcer as the most common digestive disorder.

GERD is a dysfunction of the muscle that keeps the stomach closed (sphincter). When that happens, a passage is opened that can allow stomach acid to leak into the esophagus (acid reflux), causing irritation. In most cases, the sphincter malfunction is rare so the irritation is minimal. When it is less rare, and you eat irritable foods, GERD may evolve into requiring more medically invasive procedures. Visiting a gastroenterologist doctor is vital if heartburn is a frequent disturbance.

GERD is an irritation. It is sometimes misdiagnosed. Esophagitis may be similar to GERD but is inflammation that damages tissues of the esophagus, the muscular tube that delivers food from your mouth to your stomach. Unlike GERD, it may also be caused by bacterial and fungal infections. If left untreated, esophagitis may change the structure and function of the esophagus. The armory of dugs and procedures to treat esophagitis is different than GERD. It is vital to discuss this distinction with your health care professional. There are GERD overlaps but there are subtle distinctions.

Certain foods are associated with bringing about GERD symptoms. Common triggers such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine may make heartburn worse. Citrus fruits and peppermint may trigger many symptoms. The foods that irritate more or less are often individual specific. GERD is classed as a common disease, almost as prevalent as a common cold. GERD symptoms include:

•Hoarseness, sore throat
•Chest pain that isn’t heart-related (heartburn)
•Dental (teeth) enamel erosion
•Dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing
•Regurgitation – Vomiting

Per US government statistics, in 2004, 1 out of 5 Americans have weekly symptoms of GERD. It is so common that pharmacy shelves are filled with different over-the-counter medications to help control GERD symptoms. Large numbers of Americans use over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to treat minor gastrointestinal problems such as infrequent heartburn, according to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG). In fact, OTC medicines are often among the initial treatments for heartburn, acid reflux, and other symptoms of GERD. In many cases that are mild or age-related, OTC is a recommended regimen by many doctors. Diet and lifestyle changes may be beneficial but, in practical terms, taking a pill is simpler.

You already may be using Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, and Tums. These are the most common OTC GERD symptom reducers. OTC GERD symptom relievers are different in the way they treat the problems. One may be more suitable for you than another. Ask your physician about preferences in treating your type of GERD problem. Every pill is a risk-benefit balancing act and you should be aware of them before using. GERD OTC are to be used by adults and side-effects and contraindications must be read carefully. There are 3 classes of GERD OTC:

Antacids, such as Mylanta and Tums – Antacids neutralize stomach acid and relieve heartburn. If you want to take medicine only when your symptoms bother you, antacids are a good choice.

H2 blockers, such as Cimetidine (Tagamet) and Famotidine (Pepcid) – H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Most are available in both nonprescription and prescription strength. If nonprescription H2 blockers don’t relieve your symptoms, talk to your doctor about trying prescription-strength medicine.

Proton pump inhibitors, such as lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec) – Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. This is the most recent FDA approved class and is considered the strongest OTC available.

There are lots of OTC meds for GERD. They aren’t the only ways to manage GERD but are the simplest. GERD is an irritation and there are lifestyle changes that may help reduce and possibly heal symptoms:

Remove irritant foods and replace with soothing foods. This isn’t easy. Most foods Americans favor are GERD irritants. It can be extremely difficult.

It is not advisable to go to sleep directly after eating a meal. If you do, sleep with your upper body elevated. It helps prevent gravity from moving food into the esophagus while asleep.

Red wine seems to exacerbate GERD-related heartburn. Carbonated drinks and caffeine can also prompt reflux. Water is seen as the best beverage. Non-acidic drinks may be used to avoid flavor withdrawal symptoms.

Manage your weight – While not all overweight people have GERD, those who eat a lot of foods that may cause heartburn are likely to be overweight. Fat adds pressure to your stomach. Setting goals to trim down helps manage GERD. Not always easy.

Do not eat in tight clothing – Wearing looser clothes can also help relieve some of the pressure on your stomach and, in turn, gastric pressure within your stomach. Fashion may rule but, if you have GERD, you have to suffer for your style.

Fried foods are staples of the American diet. like Fried Chicken, Fried Fish, French fries or onion rings. GERD sufferers have to leave them alone. In many areas of the USA, this may be downright masochistic. How many can you avoid?

Studies are generally inconclusive about the benefits of alternative medicine at treating GERD symptoms. No alternative medicine therapies have been proved to treat GERD or to reverse damage to the esophagus. Tread delicately here. If you choose this route, find a very qualified holistic practitioner to help you.

There are some old-time remedies that were used for upset stomach. The belief was that dark toasted bread had carbon or charcoal. Charcoal was used to treat poisonings and to reduce intestinal gas (flatulence). It is still claimed to do so as a dietary supplement. Ginger is an herb that is found in the produce departments of many supermarkets. Ginger is also available as crystalized candy, and as supplements. Ginger is commonly used as a home remedy to treat various types of stomach problems, including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. Using ginger in a diet may help some digestive symptoms but may not necessarily be effective as routine treatment for chronic GERD.

According to some studies and surveys, stress may very well be another trigger for heartburn. Stress causes anxiety and some believe that anxiety causes heartburn. A response to chronic “Fight or Flight” stress is an increase in stomach acids and gases. Added pressure may irritate GERD sufferers as the sphincter may shift and release gases into the esophagus. The relationship is more indirect. Exercise has been shown to help reduce anxiety levels.

GERD and heartburn are closely related. It is usually the primary complaint. Hoarseness and repetitive throat clearing is also common. Some of the symptoms experienced by GERD suffers may actually come from other sources. You might have GERD or you might have something else. Try to find a doctor that is willing to speak with you about concerns and possibilities. Unfortunately, insurance systems may make those types of doctors more scarce.

Abdominal pain comes from organs within the abdomen or organs adjacent to the abdomen. In GERD the pain seems to be at a higher location. It’s in the esophagus that also passes adjacent to the heart cavity. That is why it is called heartburn.

When the foods you eat seem to linger and produce unwanted physical effects, you might have GERD. An exam at your gastroenterologist will let you know. If you have GERD, you are joining a large group that comprises 20% of the USA population. You are not alone. There’s a lot of information available on websites and social media for learning and sharing.

How to cook your child

On an 85-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of your parked car to climb to 102 degrees. In 30 minutes, it can rise to 120 degrees. Leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle in extreme heat or cold is currently a criminal offense in 14 states and several municipalities. How many parents do this to their children?

A recipe of how to cook your child is unthinkable. There are about 40 cases each year involving parents that leave children in hot cars while they go on errands. These deliver lethal results. Thankfully, most parents remove children and use strollers.

Vehicular hyperthermia of children is a hot topic. It’s about how parents inadvertently learn how to cook their child. Every couple weeks the media advises that another child died after being left in a car at hot temperatures. The culprit is the loving parent. There are no books on how to cook your child. Yet it happens at a rate of about two per month. Not all cases are criminally negligent. Some are deemed as accidents. Are they? Perhaps parents need cognitive behavior modification to learn that babies need attention.

According to, there have been 17 heat related deaths in 2014 (as of July) due to kids being left in hot cars. It may seem insignificant but it is a rising trend. Parents may not realize it but this form of negligence is a way to cook your child.

Based on reported averages, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths. Is it intentional? I would hope not.

In most cases, a parent wants to stop at the supermarket for something and leaves the child in a safety seat in the car at a sunny mall parking lot. One thing leads to another. The parent may meet some friends at the market and hang and talk. Minutes turn to over an hour. Returning to the car, the child is unconscious from heatstroke symptoms.

38 children may die each year from this sort of behavior. How many survive? How many suffer permanent damage? According to the National Highway Safety Administration, more than 70 percent of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than the age of two.

The danger of vehicular heatstroke may stem from a consequence of a child safety measure, the child safety seat. The child is comfortably restrained in the rear seat to prevent injuries in accidents. Prior to this trend, parents would unfold the stroller and bring kids with them. The child safety seat seems to help some parents believe that the kid is safe. The sweltering 90-degree temperatures may not even be considered. The result is overexposure to heat or vehicular hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia is an acute condition which occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. A core body temperature of 107° is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down. A child’s body may heat up to 3-times faster than an adult. What may be a slow, acute condition for adults could be a way to cook your child.

Compared to deaths by accidents from intoxicated driving, child vehicular hyperthermia may seem insignificant. It is very significant if you were the parents of one of the 600 children that died in the car.

Parents may be very loving and normally excellent care givers yet, more than half of all vehicular hyperthermia deaths occur because the child is forgotten.

Adults are creatures of habit. That’s why many people who commute by car each day may not remember how they actually arrived from point-a to point-b safely. Drivers minds often wander while driving, but attention to driving is on automatic cruise.

In the brain, a mid-brain structure, called the basal ganglia, helps support this habituation. The basal ganglia is involved in the enabling of practiced motor acts and in gating the initiation of voluntary movements by modulating motor programs stored in the m cortex and elsewhere in the brain. The normal things we might do during driving – Talking on a cell phone, or eating breakfast while at the wheel can cause a driver to forget the precious cargo safely seated in the back. This may infrequently lead to a skip step in the normal routine.

Some parents were supposed to drop the child off at daycare before going to work. By habit, they get to work and leave the child in the back seat. Negligence comes in as parents completely forget the child is there, under the hot sun.

There are certain mnemonic exercises that one can do to help re-habituate. One might be to keep your papers in a secure bag in the back seat, safely near the child seat.

Happily most parents do these exercises and remember their child. For those couple hundred a year that might not, or for those (about) 40 cases of death, this is a significant problem. Studies cite evidence that another part of the mid-brain can help retrain those parents to remember. The hippocampus is critical to learning and remembering relationships that characterize spatial layouts, and items in the particular context in which they have been experienced. Responsible parents must dis-habituate those behaviors learned from all those previous years. In the hippocampus emotion and memory are closely related. The parent must focus a positive emotion to the silent child in the secured safety seat to remember the child.

Tuning in to the hippocampus part of your brain, adds both time and memory concepts that your child is waiting for you in the car.

How to cook your child? To cook your child in a vehicle is stupid and irresponsible. It is like leaving a baby unattended near a swimming pool. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death among children under the age of 15. You are loving and raising a child that needs your attention to live and grow.

Deciding to expand your family through having children is an important act of love and responsibility. A baby depends on your wisdom and self-sacrifice. This often means putting the baby’s needs first. Should you be leaving your baby in a hot car while you do an errand? If you want to return to a cooked child, that’s the recipe. It’s a recipe for lethal abuse.

Having a baby is full of surprises, including many unplanned events. Parents must revise their lives in many ways. Texting by the pool can be a fatal act to your baby. When you go or drive anywhere, make certain you remember your precious baby. Never leave a baby alone and unattended. Use a stroller and cook something else instead.

Heavy Metals and heart health

Do you enjoy heavy metals? Heavy Metal may be great music. Your body requires metals (minerals) in trace amounts for stable health. Too much may be hazardous to your health, even poisonous. Metal and heavy metal nutrients can bring life and death. They are vital to cellular maintenance. Too many metals may contribute to heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. Know how much metal you need to enjoy life?

Metals are very important to your body’s normal functioning. Iron, for example, is found in hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron is essential in tiny trace, An iron deficiency may lead to anemia, general fatigue, weakness. shortness of breath, and dizziness. Your body has many trace metals. Other metals your body requires are zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum. Many of these are included in most multiple vitamins. Some metals are often found in medicine formulas, such as aluminum, bismuth, gold, gallium, lithium, and silver. Then there are heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead that are highly toxic to your body but essential for manufacturing products.

Exposure to heavy metals and their absorption into our body systems are often indirect and build-up is cumulative over time. Yet, most people don’t have an idea about the effects that even harmless metal exposure might have.

Very few realize that Calcium is a metal and also a vital nutrient for teeth and bones. It also is an active ingredient in common antacids sold in pharmacy and convenience stores. Some dairy products and dairy substitutes fortify additional calcium for marketing purposes. Accidental overdosing calcium is easy because of its availability. Calcium, over time, can contribute to the hardening of the arteries that may result in heart attacks and strokes. Even if your cholesterol is in the normal range!

Calcification can show up in breast tissue and, prior to crystallization, may not be detected by mammograms. Crystallized calcium may be the cause of many observed lumps in breasts. While most are not cancerous, calcium may (in certain conditions) be associated with forms of invasive cancer.

We have said that Iron is essential for health in trace amounts. Taking too much Iron in your diet can be lethal. Iron overdose has been one of the leading causes of death caused by toxicological agents in children younger than 6 years. While Iron in the bloodstream is vital for delivering oxygen to cells, overdose can kill cells. Large amounts of Iron is an extremely corrosive substance to the GI tract, and may induce abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Some heavy metals may be surreptitious and confusing. We are taught about how beneficial it is to eat fresh-water salmon and tuna fish. While there are many health benefits, seafood and fish store Mercury in their bodies, some more than others. In an average adult diet, Mercury levels may be harmless. Some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, but, be advised, that eating more than 12 ounces of these low-mercury fish may be harmful in the long-run.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can also be released into the air through industrial pollution. Mercury falls from the air and can accumulate in streams and oceans. Mercury transforms into methyl mercury in the water. Naturally, Fish absorb the methyl mercury as they feed in these waters and so it builds up in them. If young children are exposed to fish with high mercury levels, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness may result. Methyl mercury damage is usually irreversible. Treatment is determined by the severity of the condition and is similar to that given for cerebral palsy.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, some forms of mercury may lead to muscle weakness, and mental disturbances. Mackerel, Shark, Swordfish, and Tilefish generally have the highest levels of mercury and are not recommended for pregnant women or young children. In its pure form, Mercury was once used in dental fillings and as an inactive base in some pills. What do they mean by inactive?

Supplements containing the metal Selenium make claims that it is beneficial at keeping thyroid levels in the normal range, among many other things. Most dietary Selenium comes from fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts.

The recommended dietary allowance of Selenium for adults is about 55 micrograms daily. It acts as a powerful antioxidant when combined with certain vitamins. Doses of over 200 micrograms daily may result in a form of diabetes. An overdose of selenium may cause bad breath, fever, nausea, and liver, kidney and heart problems. At high enough levels, selenium could possibly be a factor that results with death.

Think about lead poisoning, one of the more common toxic heavy metals. It was found in paint and gasoline up to the 1970’s. When homes are rented or sold, owners have to indicate a “lead notice” to prevent possible accidents from exposure to older paint layers. Sometimes toys imported from China may also have lead-based finishes. Accumulated exposure may be very harmful.

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include: Developmental delay, Learning difficulties, Irritability, Loss of appetite, and Sluggishness and fatigue. There may also be abdominal issues.

There is one metal that your body really needs. It is called Magnesium for muscle, nerve, heart, ad bone health. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Prenatal magnesium deficiency has been inferred with autism and other early development disorders.

Excitability, Muscle weakness, and (excessive) Sleepiness have been associated with magnesium deficiencies. Getting your magnesium quota from foods is really easy. Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, whole-grain rice, nuts, and (some) soy products.

Though rare, magnesium overdose may lead to hypertension, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, slow breathing, kidney stress, and a possible calcium deficiency. While magnesium reportedly helps fight against accumulation of heavy metals in your body, further studies are needed.

There’s something wise about the health benefits of oysters. They are one of the foods that deliver the highest natural source of Zinc, another beneficial metal. For over 20 years, doctors claimed that Zinc can reduce colds from viruses.

Zinc has also been associated as beneficial to ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Zinc may benefit skin and fertility. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Taking too much Zinc may result in digestive problems and may lower your immunity system. Zinc competes with copper for absorption in the human body. Having an overdose of zinc unbalances your copper levels which become deficient. Taking too much Zinc may affect a change in taste and smell. Other Zinc side-effects may contribute to dizziness, chest pain, trouble breathing, fever, chills and jaundice, when taken at higher than recommended quantities.

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Too much cake may make you fat. The acids in coffee may attack tooth enamel, for example. Too much milk brings healthy bones but possible circulatory problems. Certain seafood and fish may result in nerve disorders. It really is difficult. While heavy metals have benefits they may prematurely kiss you toward a stairway to heaven and a black Sabbath. Beware! Overdosing on heavy metals can impact the qualities of your life.

Heavy metals and metals may be nutritious and healthy in tiny amounts. Before dosing up or eating certain foods, especially when pregnant, their content in docile, everyday foods and supplements may be poisonous. Check with your doctor or nutritionist. The symptoms can be confusing but harmful if a possible associative suspicion is overlooked.

Many multivitamin supplements include metals as minerals. These small amounts help prevent deficiency but many of these come from healthy diets. How many people follow healthy diet guidelines? Sticking to that source will help you reap their benefits. It’s advisable not to over-supplement or you’ll reap consequences.

Careful review of heavy metals and metals in your diet may make the music of life more appealing.

July 4 to Bastille USA and France Revolutionary War

Contemplating freedom, liberty, opportunities, and the shaky process of attaining and preserving them as realities. Surprisingly, every country that exists had some form of revolutionary war in its history. Revolutionary wars continue. Some say revolutions breed progress, while others disagree. July 4, in the United States, and July 14, in France, celebrate lifestyles that represent freedom. For over 200 years, these republics are worn but true examples, against many odds, that progressive lifestyles are cause for celebration.

July 4, each year, large and small cities and towns throughout USA light fireworks to celebrate July 4 1776, when the original 13 colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) under the British Empire wrote the declaration of independence. It was the first major move in forming the United States, an alliance that was thoroughly debated. It was to be the basis of the revolutionary war between those colonies and Britain. It was to be a hard-fought, 7-year war where the colonies were victorious. Imperial France helped the colonialists with money and aid. The economic losses to France would give way to another revolutionary war in France, about 12 years later, deposing France’s monarchy.

In the USA, we celebrate July 4 as a memorial to the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Britain. Over the next 6 years, the Americans fought bitterly with the British, often outnumbered, in a bloody war. It wasn’t till 1783 that the British and Americans signed the preliminary Articles of Peace that would make the declaration a reality. The Treaty of Paris of 1783, negotiated between the United States and Great Britain, ended the revolutionary war and recognized American independence. The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on one side and the United States of America on the other.

It might not have turned out that way if not for a strategic alliance that brought France toward America’s side. A British war against France and another with Spain, ending in 1763, strengthened Britain’s might and ego as the best military force. Both France and Spain were defeated and lost territory to the British. What brought about the American Revolution and the move to declare independence in 1776, was the British imposition of taxes. These were a series of laws passed between 1763 and 1775 by Britain toward regulating trade and increasing taxes. Taxes were the forces that sparked unrest in the American colonies and (later) in France.

Fiercely outnumbered the Americans were fighting one of the greatest, and best trained military forces of the world. The Americans, through Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, were practicing intricate diplomacy seeking allies in its war against the British. In 1778, representatives of the French and American governments signed the Treaty of Alliance and a Treaty of Amity and Commerce on February 6. In 1763, as Britain won wars with Spain and France, Britain gained control of Florida from Spain and French territory east of the Mississippi river. Britain’s defeated helped the Americans. France joined in early 1778, the Spanish in mid-1779, and the Dutch at the end of 1780 (remember the Dutch had New Amsterdam taken by the British).

If not for the French military might, the US Revolution may have been won by the British. France and Britain were far from friendly with each other. The European neighbors fought many wars against one another for centuries. France’s interest in the American fight for independence stemmed from France’s humiliating defeat during the Seven Years War (or French Indian War). The war lasted from 1754 to 1763 and the military costs induced British parliament to impose new regulations and taxes on the American colonists.

The British defeated the French, and France was smarting for vengeance. As early as 1776, France extended offers for the purchase of military supplies on terms of credit, and to provide arms to the American revolutionists.

When representatives of the 13 colonies were working on the declaration of independence, battles were already going on between colonists and the British. The war that followed was indeed the American Revolutionary War and, upon victory, the first US Congress was formed. But the revolutionists had the aid of several major world powers and France was fighting alongside for nearly 5 years.

Ironically, the cost of France’s involvement in the American revolution emptied the coffers of France itself. In an attempt to replenish the losses, France declared a series of reforms designed to eliminate the budget deficit by increasing the taxation of the privileged classes. Nobles and the clergy were virtually exempted from France’s taxation system. Unable to fill the gaps, France declared higher taxation on peasants, wage-earners, and business owners. This led to further strife among the lower classes.

In the royal and feudal vestige that remained in France, peasants encountered taxation that radically increased the burden of the poorest. They were required to pay consumption taxes such as the salt tax, land tax to the state, a 5% property tax, a tax on the number of people in the family. While the clergy remained exempt, peasants were required to pay 10% of their income or produce to the church as well as rent to their landlords in cash, a payment related to their annual amount of production, and taxes on the use of nobles’ mills, wine-presses and bakeries.

King Louis XVI attempts to tax the nobility was met with resistance from the upper classes. The rank and file were further angered.

The French revolution, like the USA, was motivated by high taxation. With many different ideas being bounced around from 1787 to 1789. By 1788, ill weather causes harvests to fail and starvation stalks France. The peasantry start revolt across the country. By 1789, Women lead delegation to King in Versailles demanding bread. After scuffles, they are fobbed off by the King. Political legislative assemblies fail and the King is dethroned and executed by 1793, followed by Marie Antoinette several months later.

By Spring 1794, remaining royals are executed and toward the end of 1794, under Robespierre, even some poor were executed. By July 1794, Robespierre is executed. By 1795, remaining royalists attempt a coup and Napoleon Bonaparte makes his name suppressing the move with grapeshot.

The start of the French Revolutionary War is regarded when armed citizens storm and capture the Bastille. It was symbolic. The revolution would continue at least another 5 years.

A decade after the US revolution, France was on its way to be a new republic. As Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” Taxes waved a revolutionary war. Monarchs remained solid in Europe for another century but they would be gone soon after.

Essentially, the US revolutionary war and the France revolutionary war were based on taxes. One was against an external king and the other was against an internal one. USA waged a declaration of independence followed by a constitution. France trailed a different path. What would have happened if France didn’t form an alliance with our revolution?

Ironically, while Napoleon was dominating Europe, Britain made aggressive moves in the United States for greater trade opportunities from 1811 to 1812 – the USA War of 1812 , declared by President James Madison in June, 1812. Interestingly, France (and French pirates) came to the aid of the United States again.

From era to era, countries seek economic strength through trade and wealth. Oppressed poverty and lack of resources often fuel revolutions and revolutionary war. It may be a cycle that continues from those early biblical documented wars. Revolutionary war continued in the age of empires and there were many revolutions within. Taxes and oppression always fueled conflicts and wars. Wars are expensive and can topple the governments that promote those tactics. Yet, many countries continue to wage large and local revolutionary wars.

Any and every war has victors and victims. Wars breed profits and losses. It seems that wars continue to seek victories despite the costs. The incidence of war make peace more of an idyllic ideal. Each year, US celebrates July 4 and France celebrates July 14 as symbols of independence.

In 1870, the United States made July 4 a federal holiday. While celebrating the great document of the US declaration of independence, every July 4, we must appreciate all those revolutions, those valiant soldiers and thinkers who fought for our freedom. We must also remember the allies who helped preserve and enhance our ways of living.

Over 200 years ago, during a hot summer in Philadelphia, 56 unique and courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England with words. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation. The document that remains is a reminder of the dreams, thoughts, and fortitude that longed for freedoms as ideals.

Will people around the globe ever learn that wars breed new wars and result in economic drains? Perhaps not. Those fireworks celebrations are ways for all US citizens to remember and cherish the freedom principles that help make our country a guiding light and our diverse lifestyle opportunities that people envy. In awe, we are still a child growing in a complex world. July 4 reminds us that the costs were worth it.