Sunday, January 16, 2011
Happiness — I want it, you want it, we all want it. Just the fact that you’re reading The Change Blog means that you and I are on a similar path—seeking for those nuggets of wisdom that will bring us more peace, joy, and personal fulfillment.
If you’re looking for ‘change’, if you want more joy and fulfillment out of life, here are 7 qualities that, for me, have made all the difference:
1. See the World in the Form of a Question
Whether you are looking to make new friends, achieve success with a client, or even raise your general awareness—the skill of asking questions has in many ways been lost in our society. We’re so busy to tell, tell, tell that we forget to ask, ask, ask. And as we all know, the only way to become a great ‘learner’ is to ask questions. Questions resolve concerns. Questions elevate personal relationships. They also at times force us to take a different perspective and possibly stretch ourselves to unchartered waters. So learn to have an ‘ask first tell second’ personality and I can promise you the results will be profound.
2. Give Specific Feedback/Compliments
We’ve all heard that learning to give compliments to others has a powerful impact on personal relationships. But for those that truly want to take compliments to another level the key is to learn specificity. For example, which statement would you rather hear from someone else?
I really enjoyed your blog article today.
I was blown away with the story you shared in your blog article about the time you……That story very much resonated with me and I’ve decided to take action because of it!
See the difference? Both statements expressed approval of a blog article, yet the first statement likely made the author smile a little while the second brought about a huge grin. This is the power of specificity and is a critical key to happiness, especially in dealing with friends and loved ones.
3. Don’t Just Let Go of Your Physical Health
I see it all the time. Guys and gals (including many bloggers) attain great monetary success in work but all of the sudden they’re out of shape, overweight, and struggling with self-image. A friend with a very busy schedule as a business owner and father of 4, a year ago bought an elliptical and put it in his basement so that he wouldn’t have to include ‘going to the gym’ into his extremely busy schedule. The results? he has worked out 1 hour a day since buying the machine, never missing a workout, and he reports that he weigh less now than he did in high school. (and feels great too!)
4. Give Value to Others at Every Turn
Wow has the internet been a blessing in this area. Now, more than ever, you and I can meet and help people on a large-scale basis because of the beauty of technology. Some of the greatest success I’ve been able to achieve in these last year has come because of stories, articles, and mentions I’ve made praising other people and companies. As Chris Brogan says, we should mention (talk about) other people 12 times to every 1 mention of ourselves if we really want to give value and build relationships.
5. Smile Unrelenting
I know, I know, we’ve heard it before: We should smile often. But as the old saying goes, ‘common sense is often quite uncommon.’ Seriously though, are you the person in your group of friends or workplace that is known as ‘Mr. or Ms. Positive’ or are you the person that everyone sees as having a cloud over your head 24/7? I used to have a problem of not smiling enough. For me, it wasn’t that I was unhappy, it was just that I have the tendency to look serious when I’m focused on a task. Since identifying this problem (people kept telling me to lighten up) I try to carry a smile with me in all situations, and wow has this made an incredible difference. So smile often. Lighten up every room you enter. Not only will you be happier, but many will file in line with you as well.
6. Stop Trying to Find Your Passion
Let me be the first to say that I’m all about ‘finding your passion’. But the problem with most people is that they get so wrapped up in ‘finding themselves’ or ‘finding their passion’ that they forget how this discovery is actually made: By Living Passionately. In other words, if you want to find out where your true passions lie, stop looking and simply start living everything you do throughout the day with passion and zeal. By so doing, self-discovery will come naturally and easily.
7. Surround Yourself with Greatness
I simply can’t stress this one enough. Everyone needs a mentor. And we certainly all need great friends. I would be a completely different person and be on a completely different path than I’m on today had I not had people and friends in my life that helped correct my course when I got off track. I’ve learned over the years that it’s important that we not only find these friends but we learn to depend and lean on them when necessary. As others lift us up, and as we reciprocate this action, the friendships we’ll form will truly be amazing.
So there are 7 keys to health and happiness that have completely changed my life over the past year. But what about you? What are your thoughts and what would you add to the list? C’mon, let’s talk about it……
Thursday, January 13, 2011
‘Grow your own transplant’ may be possible for men with type 1 diabetes
December 11, 2010 by admin
Researchers turn human testes cells into insulin-producing islet cells; diabetic mice were ‘cured’ for a week
PHILADELPHIA A– Men with type 1 diabetes may be able to grow their own insulin-producing cells from their testicular tissue, say Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers who presented their findings today at the American Society of Cell Biology 50th annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Their laboratory and animal study is a proof of principle that human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) extracted from testicular tissue can morph into insulin-secreting beta islet cells normally found in the pancreas. And the researchers say they accomplished this feat without use of any of the extra genes now employed in most labs to turn adult stem cells into a tissue of choice.
“No stem cells, adult or embryonic, have been induced to secrete enough insulin yet to cure diabetes in humans, but we know SSCs have the potential to do what we want them to do, and we know how to improve their yield,” says the study’s lead investigator, G. Ian Gallicano, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Director of the Transgenic Core Facility at GUMC.
Given continuing progress, Gallicano says his strategy could provide a unique solution to treatment of individuals with type 1 diabetes (juvenile onset diabetes). Several novel therapies have been tried for these patients, but each has drawbacks. Transplanting islet cells from deceased donors can result in rejection, plus few such donations are available. Researchers have also cured diabetes in mice using induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells A– adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed with other genes to behave like embryonic stem cells A– but this technique can produce teratomas, or tumors, in transfected tissue, as well as problems stemming from the external genes used to create IPS cells, Gallicano says.
Instead of using IPS cells, the researchers turned to a readily available source of stem cells, the SSCs that are the early precursors to sperm cells. They retrieved these cells from deceased human organ donors.
Because SSCs already have the genes necessary to become embryonic stem cells, it is not necessary to add any new genes to coax them to morph into these progenitor cells, Gallicano says. “These are male germ cells as well as adult stem cells.”
“We found that once you take these cells out of the testes niche, they get confused, and will form all three germ layers within several weeks,” he says. “These are true, pluripotent stem cells.”
The research team took 1 gram of tissue from human testes and produced about 1 million stem cells in the laboratory. These cells showed many of the biological markers that characterize normal beta islet cells.
They then transplanted those cells into the back of immune deficient diabetic mice, and were able to decrease glucose levels in the mice for about a week A– demonstrating the cells were producing enough insulin to reduce hyperglycemia.
While the effect lasted only week, Gallicano says newer research has shown the yield can be substantially increased.
The research was funded in part by the American Diabetes Association, patient contributions to the GUMC Office of Advancement, support from GUMC diabetes specialist Stephen Clement, M.D., and a grant from GUMC.
Co-authors include Anirudh Saraswathula, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. GUMC researchers Shenglin Chen Ph.D., Stephen Clement, M.D., Martin Dym, Ph.D., and Asif Zakaria, Ph.D., also contributed to the research. The authors report having no personal financial interests related to the study.
About Georgetown University Medical Centera€¨Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO). In fiscal year 2009-2010, GUMC accounted for 79 percent of Georgetown University’s extramural research funding.
Contact: Karen Mallet
Georgetown University Medical Center
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
When you assess, define or identify aspects of your life what labels do you put on them? In what folder or pocket are they stored? Do they drag you down or build you up? Consider these questions as you read the following post..
Letting Go Of The Past Clears The Path To Living In The Now
Nobody likes to be" Baggage" ~ Baggage is heavy~There is no good reason to hang on to it!
Are you one of thousands who need to let go of your old baggage, your emotional baggage? If so, then realize letting go the past will allow you to live and grow in the present.
If You Want To Be Happy, Let Go Of Your Old Baggage
Happy people let go of old emotional baggage.
What is old emotional baggage?
Was it something your parents did or said 20 years ago? Something a customer said last week? Or something a spouse or friend said or did yesterday?
Old baggage is emotional stuff we carry around with us...
For days, months or years. It is usually negative like old hurts, resentments, anger or some kind of pain inflicted by another person. It can also be just carrying around some old guilt, failure or fear that impacts our current relationships and life in general.
Why do people hold on to all of these old feelings? Everyone moves through life with their own very personal agendas, needs and life issues. Old baggage starts to feel very comfortable after a while, so comfortable as a matter of fact many people die never able to let go of these hurts, slights and pain.
There is one very good reason to let go of all of this baggage. One of the major causes of stress today is suppressed emotions that fester in the body taking their eventual toll on some aspect of our physiology. One of the biggest causes of stress today is all of this old baggage. So why let it go? It may kill you if you don’t.
Here is an analogy
They catch monkeys in Africa by spreading large glass jugs with long narrow necks on the jungle floor and then put bunches of bananas in them. The monkeys show up, put their arm in the jug, grab the bananas and then won’t let go. They would rather end up in the Bronx Zoo than let go of their bananas.
Thousands of psychologists and counselors around the country are getting any where from $100 to 300 an hour and what are they trying to do? You guessed it, help people let go of their bananas. By the way have you ever noticed that after a while bananas rot and begin to smell? Catch the meaning of this example?
What do you need to let go of today? What is preventing you from letting it go? What harm is not letting it go have on a current relationship or your career or business?
Life dramas and or scripts
Every person alive was conditioned in an environment they couldn’t control. None of us had the ability when we were 6 years old to determine where we were going to live, what schools we would attend or what religion we would practice or who are parents or caregivers would be.
By an early age most of us had formed a variety of opinions about ourselves, what life was all about, how it would treat us and how our scripts would play out as our life unfolded. Most psychologists agree (and it’s tough to get psychologists to agree on anything) that most of us had formed our self-image or self-concept no later than age 8.
We had decided a great many factors at an early age that would affect our lives.
Why not take a look at the recurring patterns and dramas in your life, whether positive or negative, constructive or destructive and try to determine their root or cause. Over the past several years I have spent a great deal of time attempting to piece together those influences that have had a dramatic impact on the quality of my life, my decisions and yes, my life dramas and outcomes.
I have come to several personal conclusions
Only one of which I will share with you. My past is intricately woven into every action, decision, thought, behavior, feeling and outcome each day of my life. Some I like and some I don’t. Some I am proud of and some I find discouraging and distasteful. Some have helped me achieve any success I have up to this point in life while others have held me back.
So be it. It is time to recognize them, accept them and change the ones that need changing.
How about you? Any patterns, scripts, philosophies, dramas, outlooks that need to be reexamined? I don’t remember who said it, (because I have a hobby of collecting quotes, and I have thousands of them so that I can use them in my popular newsletter Life Balance) but it says, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
It is one thing to examine and still another to change. Sometimes the examination is easy and the changes difficult while other times the examination is the hard part and changing is a piece of cake.
Spend some regular time each week reflecting on your life
In one of my favorite books, Transitions by William Bridges, he shares a simple yet profound concept, the idea of moving on or past “stuff” in life. He uses the analogy of a caterpillar who wants to become a butterfly.
The caterpillar must go through certain stages or phases in order to have a successful transition. This concept is easily applied to any of life’s transitions: from one relationship to another, from one career to another, from one lifestyle to another etc. The three stages or phases are:
1. You must declare an ending.
You must put closure on the previous relationship, issue or circumstance. When people fail to declare endings before moving on to a new beginning, they tend to repeat the same ending again in the new beginning (relationship, career and so on).
2. You must spend adequate time in the neutral zone.
Bridges compares the neutral zone to the cocoon. If the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon too soon it may not be properly formed and will die or at the least not be able to fly.
If we spend to little time in the neutral zone, discovering what we need to learn – we will again tend to repeat similar mistakes and repeat the earlier ending once again. Oh, it might be a different person, career or circumstance, but nonetheless, the ending will have similar characteristics.
The neutral zone is where we self-discover who we are, how we feel, how we behave, what we believe and who we want to become. It is an active time of introspection and self-evaluation.
3. If you have declared an ending...
I mean really declared it and not just given the idea lip service and you spend enough time in the neutral zone (Several years ago I spent almost two years in the neutral zone after the ending of a relationship) – it is now time to move on to step three – declare and embrace the new beginning.
Much of the stress in life comes from an unwillingness to move from step one to two, or step two to step three even knowing that it is in your best interests or even necessary to do so. You feel emotionally stuck, out of control or just afraid of the future after you have made the decision to move to the next step.
If you are in a transition from one ‘anything’ to another embrace it, enjoy it, learn from it. This transition will introduce you to the new you if you will let it.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Menopause and Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are the most frequent symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. Hot flashes occur in more than two-thirds of North American women during perimenopause and almost all women with induced menopause or premature menopause.
See What to Expect During Perimenopause and Menopause
What Is a Hot Flash?
A hot flash -- sometimes called a hot flush -- is a momentary sensation of heat that may be accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating. The cause of hot flashes is not known, but may be related to changes in circulation.
Hot flashes occur when the blood vessels near the skin's surface dilate to cool. This produces the red, flushed look to the face. A woman may also perspire to cool down the body. In addition, some women experience a rapid heart rate or chills.
Hot flashes accompanied with sweating can also occur at night. These are called night sweats and may interfere with sleep.
A hot flush is a hot flash plus a visual appearance of redness in the face and neck.
How Long Will I Have Hot Flashes?
The severity and duration of hot flashes varies among women going through menopause. Some women have hot flashes for a very short time during menopause. Other women may have hot flashes -- at least to some degree -- for life. Generally, hot flashes are less severe as time passes.
Can I Prevent Hot Flashes?
While it may be impossible to completely avoid hot flashes during menopause, there are certain triggers that may bring them on more frequently or cause them to be more severe. To prevent hot flashes, avoid these triggers:
• Spicy foods
• Tight clothing
• Cigarette smoke
Other things you can do to keep hot flashes at bay include:
• Stay cool. Keep your bedroom cool at night. Use fans during the day. Wear light layers of clothes with natural fibers such as cotton.
• Try deep, slow abdominal breathing (six to eight breaths per minute). Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening and at the onset of hot flashes.
• Exercise daily. Walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all good choices.
• Chill pillows; cooler pillows to lay head on at night might be helpful.
Talk to your doctor about taking short-term (less than five years) hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. This treatment prevents hot flashes in many women. In addition, it can help other symptoms of menopause, including vaginal dryness and mood disorders. However, even short-term hormone therapy carries some risks, including blood clots and gallbladder inflammation. If HRT is not right for you, there are other treatments that may offer relief. These include both over-the-counter and prescription therapies. It is important to clear any new drugs (including over-the-counter) or supplements with your doctor before taking.
Nonprescription treatments include:
• Vitamin B complex
• Vitamin E
Prescription treatments include:
• Catapres, Catapres-TTS, and Aldomet, blood pressure medications
• Birth control pills
• Antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Effexor
• Other hormones, such as Provera and Megace
• Neurontin, an anti-seizure drug
Are There Alternative Therapies to Relieve Hot Flashes?
Although some alternative therapies like botanical and herbal therapies have shown promise for relieving menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, more research is needed to determine the benefits and risks of these alternative remedies.
Because botanicals and herbs may have adverse side effects or exhibit harmful interactions with other medications, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any of these products. Also, it's important to note that the manufacturing of these supplements is not regulated, leading to the possibility of taking too much or too little.
Botanicals and herbs that may help relieve hot flashes include:
• Soy products. Plant estrogens, found in soy products, such as isoflavones, are thought to have weak estrogen-like effects that may reduce hot flashes. Soy foods, not supplements, are recommended.
• Black cohosh. Some studies suggest that black cohosh may be helpful in the very short term (six months or less) for treating hot flashes and night sweats. Side effects include gastrointestinal upset.
• Evening primrose oil is another botanical that is often used to treat hot flashes, although there is no scientific evidence to support this. Side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Women taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, should not take evening primrose oil.
• Flaxseed. Although there is no scientific evidence to support using flaxseed, it is thought to decrease the symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes. Also known as linseed, flaxseed is available in both whole seed and seed oil forms.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you take any medications to relieve hot flashes. Also, keep in mind that your hot flashes may be temporary. You may be able to manage without any treatment
Thursday, January 6, 2011
How much do you know about the bottled water you drink? Not nearly enough, according to a new report released today from Environmental Working Group (EWG). "Bottled water companies try hard to hide information you might find troubling," says Jane Houlihan, senior vice president of research for the Washington D.C.-based research and advocacy group.
EWG analyzed the labels of 173 unique bottled water products and company websites to determine if companies disclose information on where water comes from, how or if their water is treated, and whether the results of purity testing are revealed. The nonprofit also looked at how effective (and advanced) any water treatment methods are. Researchers followed up by calling dozens of bottled water companies to find out which ones willingly tell consumers what's in their bottles.
The Environmental Protection Agency says on its website that consumers have the right to know where their water comes from and what's in it so they can "make informed choices that affect the health of themselves and their families." Tap water is regularly tested and consumers can find their local water info online. That's not necessarily the case with bottled water, which is not required to disclose that information to consumers. "Bottled water is a food product and every one of these companies is complying with federal law," says Tom Lauria, of the International Bottled Water Association.
More than half of the bottled water products surveyed failed EWG's transparency test --18 percent didn't say where their water comes from, and another 32 percent did not disclose any information on treatment or purity of water.
Only three brands earned the highest possible marks for disclosing information and using the most advanced treatment methods available - Gerber Pure Purified Water, Nestle Pure Life Purified Water, and Penta Ultra-Purified Water.
On the other end of the spectrum, these six brands got the worst marks in EWG's report because they don't provide consumers with the three basic facts about water on product labels or their company website - Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral Water, Vintage Natural Spring Water, Sahara Premium Drinking Water, O Water Sport Electrolyte Enhanced Purified Drinking Water, Market Basket Natural Spring Water, and Cumby's Spring Water.
How does your bottled water brand stack up? Here's a look at the 10 top-selling* U.S. brands:
1. Pure Life Purified Water (Nestle), EWG grade = B
2. Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = C
3. Aquafina Purified Drinking Water (Pepsi), EWG grade = D
4. Dasani Purified Water (Coca-Cola), EWG grade = D
5. Deer Park Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D
6. Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D
7. Ozarka Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D
8. Poland Spring Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D
9. Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D
10. Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water (CG Roxane), EWG grade = F
Filtered tap water received the best grade (an A) from EWG because if you change your filter regularly, EWG says it is purer than bottled water, plus it saves money (bottled water can cost up to 1,900 times more than what flows from your tap). Drinking tap water also takes less of a toll on the planet. EWG offers plenty of tips for filtering your tap water so that you can drink the healthiest water possible.
What should you do when bottled water is your only option? "While our top choice is filtered tap water, when you do need to choose bottled water, we recommend brands that tell you what's in the water and that use advanced treatment technologies like reverse osmosis and micro-filtration," says Houlihan. Advanced treatment technologies remove pollutants that other methods don't. You should look for bottled water products that tell you where the water is coming from and how pure it is.
Here are the results for all 173 bottled water brands included in the report. You'll find that some less popular brands rank even lower than our list of top-sellers.
The advice to drink filtered tap water can seem confusing when there are often reports about the contaminants found in municipal water supplies. Just last month, for example, EWG announced that cancer causing hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) is in 31 cities' tap water. Houlihan says chromium-6 is as likely to be in your bottled water as it is in your tap water and we need action from the federal government on this. She points out that a reverse osmosis filter can remove the worrisome contaminant. You can guarantee its removal in your home supply, but in many cases you don't know what's in the bottle you're drinking from.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Researchers have made a breakthrough in HIV research that had eluded scientists for over 20 years, potentially leading to better treatments for HIV, in a study published today in the journal Nature.
Prior to the new study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health, many researchers had tried and failed to work out the three-dimensional structure of integrase bound to viral DNA. New antiretroviral drugs for HIV work by blocking integrase, but scientists did not understand exactly how these drugs were working or how to improve them.
Researchers can only determine the structure of this kind of molecular machinery by obtaining high quality crystals. For the new study, researchers grew a crystal using a version of integrase borrowed from a little-known retrovirus called Prototype Foamy Virus (PFV). Based on their knowledge of PFV integrase and its function, they were confident that it was very similar to its HIV counterpart.
Over the course of four years, the researchers carried out over 40,000 trials, out of which they were able to grow just seven kinds of crystals. Only one of these was of sufficient quality to allow determination of the three-dimensional structure.
Dr Peter Cherepanov, the lead author of the study from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "It is a truly amazing story. When we started out, we knew that the project was very difficult, and that many tricks had already been tried and given up by others long ago. Therefore, we went back to square one and started by looking for a better model of HIV integrase, which could be more amenable for crystallization. Despite initially painstakingly slow progress and very many failed attempts, we did not give up and our effort was finally rewarded."
After growing the crystals in the lab, the researchers used the giant synchrotron machine at the Diamond Light Source in South Oxfordshire to collect X-ray diffraction data from these crystals, which enabled them to determine the long-sought structure. The researchers then soaked the crystals in solutions of the integrase inhibiting drugs Raltegravir (also known as Isentress) and Elvitegravir and observed for the first time how these antiretroviral drugs bind to and inactivate integrase.
The new study shows that retroviral integrase has quite a different structure to that which had been predicted based on earlier research. Availability of the integrase structure means that researchers can begin to fully understand how existing drugs that inhibit integrase are working, how they might be improved, and how to stop HIV developing resistance to them.
For further information please contact:
Research Media Relations Manager
Imperial College London
Telephone: +44 (0)207 594 8432 or ext. 48432
Out of hours duty Press Officer: +44 (0)7803 886 248
Dr Peter P Cherepanov
Department of Medicine
4th Floor, Medical School
St Mary's Campus
Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3655