Got balls? Or, know someone who does? READ AND SHARE! #medical #testicular #testicle #cancer #surgery

Got balls? Or, know someone who does?
READ AND SHARE!
#medical #testicular #testicle #cancer #surgery
A youngish (aged 38), white, employed man—one with great health insurance in the USA—first noticed a pea-shaped/-sized nodule in one testicle while doing a manual self-exam over 10 years ago. At that time and for each subsequent year, he kept having that testicle checked by his doctor.
He noticed that that testicle had felt and looked different from the other one almost right away. During these 10 years, that testicle kept shrinking (and he never took steroids, which are known to cause shrinking balls), but otherwise, it didn’t change much.
shrunken testicle
Every doctor he saw told him that this shrinking testicle problem was “nothing to be concerned about.” Some diagnosed it as something like a “varicose vein” problem (varicocele); others said it was a “dysfunctional” or “atrophied” testicle. No one seemed concerned.
NO ONE suggested, nor did this young man know to request, an ultrasound, which is what SHOULD have happened, right away.
The major change that occurred about 6 months ago (over 10 years later) was that this shrunken testicle began to grow, to swell and to hurt. He said it felt as if he had pulled a groin muscle. It also looked even more different from his other testicle, on the outside of the scrotum.
When he went in to his doctor, he was having trouble walking because he was in some pain, but he still thought he may have pulled a groin muscle. That internist again did not suggest an ultrasound and only gave him the most cursory manual exam.
The doctor told him: “If it hurts more or changes again, I’ll refer you to a specialist.”
Six months later, in early November, those types of changes happened: more pain, even more swelling. This time, the young man knew that this was not a pulled muscle.
When he called his doctor, he was referred to and then quickly scheduled an appointment to be seen by a urologist.
why see a urologist
That doctor did a much more thorough manual and visual examination, asked a lot more questions, spent more time. This doctor concluded without hesitation that this testicle was a problem and ordered an ultrasound, to occur a few days later.
The ultrasound (which was painful and that pain lasted several days, BTW), confirmed that the testicle had “multiple masses” internally, something no man wants to hear.
ultrasound testicles
NOT this man’s ultrasound, but similar; from http://www.ceessentials.net/article42.html
The urologist explained the possibilities (none great) and then immediately scheduled for that testicle’s contents to be removed one week later. This inguinal (through the lower abdomen) surgery was to be done in order to find out, by removing and sending the contents for pathological analysis, whether or not these masses were cancerous (probably were), and, if so, what kind.
The surgery took about one hour. Luckily, everything went fine.
Cross-Sectional Diagram of Inguinal Surgery Procedure to Remove Testicular Mass
inguinal surgery for testicular cancer
Post-surgery, the urologist seemed optimistic about the “containment” or “encapsulation” of these masses within the scrotum (best possible outcome). The urologist mentioned that, by his observations of the scrotal contents’ look, color and texture, the masses were likely to be seminomas (also known as pure seminomas or classical seminomas).
Seminoma is “a germ cell tumor of the testicle or, more rarely, the mediastinum or other extra-gonadal [outside the scrotum] locations. It is a malignant neoplasm and is one of the most treatable and curable cancers, with a survival rate above 95%, if discovered in early stages.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminoma

Seminoma “is a slow-growing form of testicular cancer found in men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The cancer is in the testes, but it can spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node involvement is either treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Seminomas are very sensitive to radiation therapy.”  https://medlineplus.gov › Medical Encyclopedia
seminoma-morphology-n
However, the man had to wait for pathology (to be available five – seven days later or sooner) to hear if he had to have any “next steps” (e.g., radiation or chemotherapy), or if he’s “clear” (presumed to be cancer-free).
If he’s presumed to be cancer-free at this first checkpoint,  he and his doctor are on “watch and report frequently” duty, which means that, for about 10 years, the man is to:
1) continue doing monthly self-exams of the other testicle and the empty scrotum and
2) schedule visits for ultrasound or CAT scans every 3 – 6 months.
If, at any time, post-surgery, the cancer seems to have spread or MAY have spread, a treatment regime is proposed, agreed to and then started. This could include radiation, chemotherapy, and/or more surgery, depending upon what is detected.
For THIS man, his story has this “outcome” (for now):
This man’s blood tests were clear: no tumor cancer markers, but the surgeon said there was some “leakage” outside of the testis. There were no signs of any other masses.
The urologist  ordered CT scans to determine if any of these masses had spread (metastasized. which everyone always hopes cancer does not do). he told this man that getting the scans was “not urgent,” but should be done “soon.”
The surgeon also referred him to an oncologist (cancer specialist), who would go over all these results with him and help him understand his options and decide how to proceed at that point. [I will update this saga after all that has occurred.]
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NOTES TO ALL HUMANS between the ages of 15 – 50 who have testicles, DO THESE THINGS:
Self-exams (manual and visual) are crucial (which is the way this man first found the nodules);
testicle self exam
the above graphic and the video, below, were posted by: Justin Birckbichler on Twitter:

—Get better-informed internists, so that early detection via ultrasound is routine.
If you know a or you are a human under 50 with testicles (self-identified as “male” or not), spread the word!
ANY nodules, masses, pain, changes in size or texture of a testicle MUST be reported to a doctor AND that doctor should refer to a urologist and/or should request immediately to have an ultrasound, for diagnostic purposes. 
Unless scans can prove a mass/nodule is only a fluid-filled cyst (epididymal cysts, which are quite common, painless and harmless), the affected testicle will probably be emptied out from within (an inguinal surgery, which this man, above, had), or the testicle itself is to be removed completely, ASAP.
This surgery generally works very well and urologists do it frequently, so they have the procedure down. This does involve having general anaesthesia and cutting, and, therefore, has associated risks, but most do fine with this procedure.
The surgery is usually done as an “outpatient” procedure, meaning, the person goes home that same day/night.
Depending on several factors—the general health of the person and the type of surgery done as well as the pathology results—full recovery may take 4 – 6 weeks or longer. During this time, the recovery may have restrictions (no heavy lifting or pulling, no airline travel, limited sitting, lots of rest vs. work or ordinary schedule) but walking and other non-strenuous exercises are encouraged right away.
Success and recovery rates for this type of cancer are quite high:
99% if the cancer has not spread;
96% if it has.

STILL: early detection is key.

 

testicular-cancer-prevention

FMI: 

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
  • A lump or enlargement in either testicle.
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • A dull ache in the abdomen or groin.
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.
  • Back pain.


There are several causes of testicular lumps and swellings:

  • varicocele – caused by enlarged veins in the testicles (may look like a bag of worms)
  • hydrocele – a swelling caused by fluid around the testicle
  • epididymal cyst – a lump caused by a collection of fluid in the epididymis
  • testicular torsion – a sudden painful swelling that occurs when a testicle becomes twisted (this is a medical emergency and requires surgery as soon as possible)
  • epididymitis – a chlamydia infection in the epididymis can cause inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the scrotum (ball sack); a few men will notice that the whole of the scrotum is red and tender (this is called epididymo-orchitis)
  • testicular cancer – an estimated 4 in 100 lumps are cancer, so this is an uncommon cause of lumps

Types of testicular cancer

The different types of testicular cancer are classified by the type of cells the cancer begins in.
The most common type of testicular cancer is “germ cell testicular cancer,” which accounts for around 95% of all cases. Germ cells are a type of cell that the body uses to create sperm.
There are two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer. They are:

  • seminomas – which have become more common in the past 20 years and now account for 50 to 55% of testicular cancers
  • non-seminomas – which account for most of the rest and include teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas and yolk sac tumors

Both types tend to respond well to chemotherapy.
Less common types of testicular cancer include:

  • Leydig cell tumors – which account for around 1 to 3% of cases
  • Sertoli cell tumors – which account for around 1% of cases
  • lymphoma – which accounts for around 4% of cases
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Think you or someone you know needs a monthly reminder to do a self-exam?
If you/they have a texting phone, show them this:
Text 81010 to @selfexam to receive a monthly text message reminder!
self-exam reminder text
checking balls app

Our Ball Checker mobile app provides a few facts every guy and girl should know about testicular cancer as well as how to do a testicular self exam. If you have testicles or know someone that does, then you should get this app.

With early detection testicular cancer is almost 100% survivable but lack of awareness leads to late diagnosis and unfortunate outcomes. The lack of awareness and education is one of the biggest challenges we have in the fight against testicular cancer.

Make sure you and the men in your life have the knowledge that could end up saving their life.

A Moment of Awkwardness Could Save A Lifetime. Talk About Testicular Cancer.

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Best of luck and good health to you all!
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Some other info and worst-case scenarios information:

“Dr Turnbull and her team uncovered new genetic mutations in testicular germ cell tumours, which make up the vast majority of testicular cancers. They found new chromosome duplications and other abnormalities that could contribute to the development of this cancer, as well as confirming a previous association with a gene called KIT.

“Their study also found defective copies of a DNA repair gene called XRCC2 in a patient who had become resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. They were able to support the link between XRCC2 and platinum resistance by sequencing an additional platinum-resistant tumour.

“’Although generally testicular cancer responds well to treatment, resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy is associated with a poor long-term survival rate,’ explains Dr Turnbull. ‘The repercussions of these findings could be significant for men suffering with this disease. In the future, men who are destined to fail platinum treatment— currently around 3% of cases—could be identified before they endure courses of chemotherapy and be offered different treatments, more suited to their particular type of tumour.’”

from: https://www.icr.ac.uk/news-features/latest-features/understanding-why-some-men-still-die-from-testicular-cancer

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“If the cancer has spread, the patient may get treatments like radiation or chemotherapy. The cancer will come back in about 15% to 20% of patients, most often as spread to lymph nodes , but if it does, radiation or chemo can still usually cure the cancer.”
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Seminomas

Stage I

“These cancers can be cured in nearly all patients. You first have surgery to remove the testicle and spermatic cord (called a radical inguinal orchiectomy). After surgery, you have many treatment choices:

“Careful observation (surveillance): If the cancer has not spread beyond the testicle, the plan most experts prefer is that you be watched closely by your doctor for up to 10 years. This means getting physical exams and blood tests every 3 to 6 months for the first year, and less often after that. Imaging tests (CT scans and sometimes chest x-rays) are done every 3 months for 6 months, and then once or twice a year.

“If these tests do not find any signs that cancer has spread beyond the testicle, no other treatment is needed. If the cancer has spread, you may get treatments like radiation or chemo. The cancer will come back in about 15% to 20% of patients, most often as spread to lymph nodes , but if it does, radiation or chemo can still usually cure the cancer.

“Radiation therapy: Radiation aimed at para-aortic lymph nodes is another option. These nodes are in the back of your abdomen (belly), around the large blood vessel called the aorta. Because seminoma cells are very sensitive to radiation, low doses can be used and you’ll get about 10 to 15 treatments over 2 to 3 weeks.

“Chemotherapy: An option that works as well as radiation is 1 or 2 cycles of chemotherapy with the drug carboplatin after surgery. Many experts prefer chemo over radiation because it seems to be easier to tolerate.”

Survival by stage

“There are no UK-wide statistics available for testicular cancer survival.

“Survival statistics are available for the different stages of testicular cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. They don’t provide information about the type of testicular cancer or tumour marker level.

“The [data] below are for 4 stages of testicular cancer. Your doctor may use a different system that only has 3 stages.

Stage 1

“Almost all men survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

“Stage 1 means the cancer is only in the testes.”

Stage 2

“Almost 95 out of 100 men (almost 95%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

“Stage 2 means the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.”

Pure seminoma

“Pure seminoma means that there are no teratoma cells in the tumour. You will have normal Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) marker levels if you have pure seminoma.

“There are two categories of outlook for pure seminoma testicular cancer – good prognosis and intermediate prognosis. No one with pure seminoma is classified as having a poor prognosis.”

Good prognosis

“Almost 90 out of every 100 men (almost 90%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

“Most men have a good prognosis. Good prognosis means that the seminoma has spread only to the lymph nodes or the lungs. It has not spread anywhere else.”

Intermediate prognosis

“More than 70 out of every 100 men (more than 70%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

“Intermediate prognosis means that the seminoma has spread beyond the lung or lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the brain or liver.”

Survival for all stages of testicular cancer

“The outlook for testicular cancer is one of the best for all cancers. Nearly all men survive their disease.” [NOTE: in the 1970s, this statistic was almost the opposite: 90% DIED from it!]

“In England and Wales:

  • almost all men will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • almost all men (98%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

“Unlike some other cancers, it is rare for testicular cancer to come back more than 5 years later.”

from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/treating/by-stage.html

and from:
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“First Targeted Cancer Drug Approved Based on Mutation Rather than Tumor Type”
Please read and share this detailed, informative article about new ways to treat cancer, especially unusual types, particularly in those individuals with specific mutations.
from:
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My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

My Notes, Thoughts, Resources and Recommendations
for “Trauma-Informed” Education/Care
and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

For those of us old enough to remember or who have studied sociology, psychology and/or education prior to 2000, there were precursors to this research: Risk Factors, which ACEs are a subset of, as well as Protective Factors and Resilience. For more about this important research, go here or https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth:

Relevant to ACEs are the Common Risk Factors for Childhood and Adolescent Problems, by Level of Influence


image from Devereux Center for Resilient Children

  • Environmental Risk Factors Factors
    —Laws and norms favorable to antisocial behavior
    —Poverty and economic deprivation
    —Low economic opportunity
    —Neighborhood disorganization
    —Low neighborhood attachment
  • Interpersonal and Social Risk Factors Factors
    —Family communication and conflict
    —Poor parent–child bonding
    —Poor family management practices
    —Family alcohol and drug use
    —School failure
    —Low commitment to school
    —Rejection by conforming peer groups
    —Association with antisocial peers
  • Individual Risk Factors Factors
    —Family history of alcoholism
    —Sensation-seeking orientation
    —Poor impulse control
    —Attention deficits
    —Hyperactivity
  • Adapted from Fraser et al., 2004; Jenson & Howard, 1999; and Hawkins et al., 1998
    from https://us.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/5975_Chapter_1_Jenson_Fraser__I_Proof.pdf

    Some heart-wrenching causation connections between childhood stress and adult medical problems have already been made:
    —“…[M]ost adult women with fibromyalgia [emphasis mine]… have had stressful childhoods as reported by the journal, Stress and Health in 2009….The early chronic experience of stress appears to exert a much larger influence in contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia than any current stressful life event, as a 2006 study reported in the journal, Psychoneuroendocrinolgy. from http://medicalhealthnews.info/fibromyalgia-linked-childhood-stress-unprocessed-negative-emotions-2/

    The relationships between childhood experiences (“nurture”) and adult health have long been the subject of research. One precursor to ACEs research, for almost thirty years, the information derived from the biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBSS) has been instrumental in determining what communities’ needs were, what prevention areas to focus upon, and how prevalent certain risky behaviors were over time because the USA government, in conjunction with state and municipal authories and school systems, began administering the YRBSS in 1990 and continues to this day, in odd years. Much of the data from the YRBSS overlaps with data needed and gathered about ACEs. See below.

    The YRBSS (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/overview.htm) was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include

    • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
    • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection.
    • Alcohol and other drug use.
    • Tobacco use.
    • Unhealthy dietary behaviors.
    • Inadequate physical activity.

    In addition, the YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other priority health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.

    From 1991 through 2015, the YRBSS has collected data from more than 3.8 million high school students in more than 1,700 separate surveys.

    ACEs research and subsequent work are building on all of these studies their data to help us advance in our understands, prevention, intervention and mitigation of trauma. The ACEs researchers began with this survey and its 10 categories (see below).

    The 10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are, in summary form:


    image from https://cdv.org/what-is-cdv/adverse-childhood-experiences/

    If you want to have each category be more fully defined (and some of them do include aspects you might not usually consider, so I recommend reviewing these if you haven’t, yet), go here, where you can actually “fill out” the survey at the same time:
    https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

    However, if you find all this obvious, so is your score: you get one point for each of the ACEs that occurred in your childhood (before age 18 years old). The total of these = your ACEs score.

    This ACEs number is important for examining the likelihood (statiscally speaking) of your having adverse consequences later in life (see below). The stats have three sections:
    —> 0, 1 or 2 ACEs
    —> 3 – 7 ACEs
    —> more than 7 ACEs

    The statistics tended to group in these ways in recognition of what types and how many negative consequences were most likely to occur for those with those ACEs numbers. Below is a description of the original study.

    The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Original Research:

    “From 1995 to 1997, Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic, in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, implemented one of the largest studies ever conducted on the origins of risk factors that have negative health and social consequences and the cumulative incidence and influence of psychological and physical abuse including: neglect, sexual abuse, witnessing violence, exposure to substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal behavior, and imprisonment of a family member (independent variables) on dependent variables that were measures of both mental health (depression, suicidality) and physical health (heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, liver disease, obesity) and health-related behaviors (alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, high numbers of sexual partners) and poor self-rated health (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE questionnaire was constructed using selected questions from published surveys (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2017). Prior to the survey there had been little study of the relationship between early childhood adverse experiences and adult medical problems and behaviors (Felitti et al. 1998).

    “The ACE survey data was collected by mail from two waves of a sample of 17,000 adult members of Kaiser’s Health Maintenance Organization in San Diego, California between 1995 and 1997. The sample size itself was impressive. The release of the study findings was shocking to many when they showed the extent to which adverse childhood events negatively shaped future social and physical health outcomes, including life expectancy.

    “Perhaps less surprising, the findings showed that the more negative events a child experienced the higher the likelihood s/he had as an adult of suffering an array of health and behavior problems including alcoholism, chronic pulmonary disease, depression, illicit drug use, liver disease, adolescent pregnancy and many more (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014a, b). Further, adults with the highest level of ACEs had a life expectancy 20 years less than those without high levels of ACEs. The study sample did not consist primarily of low-income minority adults, a demographic often found to be “at risk.” It was mainly comprised of white, middle and upper income employed people; people who might be expected to have had more stable childhood environments because of parents’ employment and income.

    “The original ACE study has generated more than 70 scientific articles, scores of conference presentations, and has shaped the design of research and as well as social programs. It is beyond the scope of this article to present a comprehensive review of the studies of the ACE survey, but ACEs Too High (2017) provides a list of ACE studies by year.

    “Studies using the ACE questionnaire have expanded beyond Kaiser’s sample of white, HMO patients to include, for example, special populations such as children of alcoholics (Dube et al. 2001), and children with an incarcerated parent (Geller et al. 2009) and have found higher prevalences of ACEs than in the original Kaiser sample.

    “ACE Studies of justice-involved populations (Baglivio et al. 2014; Messina and Grella 2006; Miller and Najavits 2012; Reavis et al. 2013) including juvenile justice-involved youth (Dierkhising et al. 2013) are raising awareness of the association of early childhood trauma and offender behaviors and needs, as are studies of justice-involved samples that include a focus on childhood trauma without using the ACE questionnaire (Wolff and Shi 2012). The studies consistently find elevated rates of childhood trauma in incarcerated populations and offender groups. For example, the Reavis et al. study (2013) of incarcerated males found ACE scores above 4 to be four times higher than in a normative male population.

    “By bringing attention to the powerful impact that negative childhood experiences have on future health and functioning, the ACE study demonstrates the importance of gathering information early in the lives of children and their families and designing early intervention programs that target violence and neglect. It also points to the importance of collecting trauma histories from clients and highlights the essential role of prevention in program design. A particularly important contribution the Ace survey has made to offender and incarcerated groups is to emphasize the importance of trauma-targeted interventions in jails and prisons as well as in diversion programs.”

    FMI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409906/

    More about How ACEs Operate in Our Lives

    This is a depiction of ACEs and their impacts in the form of a “pyramid of bad consequences”: if 3 or more ACEs form our lives’ “foundation,” we are much more likely to have a lot of other problems, including physical and mental health issues, suicidal ideation, criminal tendencies to the point of incarceration, and possible early death in our futures.

    Even having 1 or 2 ACEs can wreck a person’s life and/or health if enough mitigating factors aren’t present, especially when the adverse experience was
    —horrific,
    —happened at a formative time, and/or
    —was prolonged/repeated.


    image from https://www.communitycommons.org/2014/08/aces-adverse-childhood-experiences/

    This excellent 2014 TEDMED talk on ACEs from a health care perspective
    is on video, with presenter, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD

    Burke offers the best summary of the study, its origins and findings, and their immediate and long-term applications for health care and other professionals as well as anyone affected by multiple ACEs.

    “Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.

    “This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.”

    Worth your time to watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime

    ACEs High Scores Linked
    to Adult Emotional and Physical Health Problems

    There is a cycle regarding ACEs that usually occurs. Learning about how this cycle works is first. Then, figuring out how to intervene, interrupt and contravene the impacts can occur next.


    image from https://dribbble.com/shots/2214296-Adverse-Childhood-Experiences-infographic

    Know that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are common

    In case you were wondering about the prevalence of ACEs, here are some recent statistics from a small but supposedly representative sample and their source.

    Of the 17,337 individuals surveyed, here is the prevalence of each possible adverse experience, from most to least, represented as a percentage:

    —Physical abuse towards the child – 28.3%
    —Substance abuse in the household – 26.9%
    —Parental separation/divorce – 23.3%
    —Sexual abuse toward the child – 20.7%
    —Mental Illness in the household – 19.4%
    —Emotional neglect towards the child – 14.8%
    —Domestic violence in the household – 12.7%
    —Emotional abuse towards the child – 10.6%
    —Physical neglect towards the child – 9.9%
    —Imprisoned household member – 4.7%

    ACEs are linked with a greater risk
    of many problems in later life

    These include:

    • Alcohol abuse and dependence
    • Early smoking initiation and current smoking status
    • Illicit drug use
    • IV drug abuse
    • Obesity
    • Suicide attempts
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Hyperactivity
    • Sleep Disturbances
    • Hallucinations
    • Eating disorders
    • Suicide attempts
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Teen or unintended pregnancies
    • Intimate partner violence
    • Improper brain development
    • Impaired learning ability and general cognitive difficulties
    • Attention and memory difficulties
    • Visual and/or motor impairment
    • Lower language development
    • Impaired social and emotional skills
    • Poorer quality of life

    Nikki Gratix offers more links and stats about ACEs and long-term effects, with our first glimmers of hope (link is below the text, here):
    “Another long-term study indicated that approximately 80% of young adults who had previously been abused qualified for at least one psychiatric diagnosis at the age of 21 (Silverman, Reinherz & Gianconia, 1996).

    “Neglected or abused children are also
    —59% more likely to be arrested during their childhood,
    —28% more likely to engage in criminal behaviour as adults, and
    —30% more likely to engage in violent crime as an adult (Widom & Maxfield, 2001).

    “Abuse and neglect during childhood can also negatively impact the ability of individuals to effectively establish and maintain healthy romantic adult relationships (Colman & Widom, 2004). As relationship warmth and social connection are key protective factors for long-term health and happiness, many of these greater risks could at least be partially explained by the greater risk of interpersonal conflict, disconnection and isolation.

    “Individuals who have had negative experiences during their childhood can still grow and flourish as adults, and can also be more resilient as a result of learning how to overcome significant challenges when they are younger.

    This diagram, below, depicts the Risk Factors, Protective Factors and Resilience interactive model clearly:


    image from https://www.slideshare.net/PreventionWorks/bc-pc-december-13-2012, The InterdisciplinaryScience of Prevention Bernalillo County DWI Program Planning Council Meeting December 13, 2012 Frank G. Magourilos, MPS, CPS, ICPS Prevention Works

    “A major longitudinal study even found that what goes right during childhood is often more important than what goes wrong [emphasis mine], and having even one safe, stable and nurturing figure in a child’s life can reduce the later risk of psychological and physical health problems [emphasis mine] (Vaillant, 2015).

    “Creating safe, stable and nurturing environments (SSNREs) is the key to having a positive impact on reducing ACEs going forward.”

    LINK to the above: https://www.nikigratrix.com/silent-aces-epidemic-attachment-developmental-trauma/

    FMI: “Steps to Create Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments,” 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/essentials_for_childhood_framework.pdf

    4 Quadrants/Types of Attachment:

    I found this set of connections (below) to be a very helpful rubric for understanding the ways trauma impacts our ability to choose appropriate partners/friends, even colleagues and form positive relationships when we suffer from many ACEs because it brings in the main principles of John Bowlby‘s attachment theory quite intelligently.

    • secure = consistent, responsive early care
      = low anxiety, low avoidance
      = positive views of self and others; comfortable relying on others, easily comforted
    • preoccupied = inconsistent early care
      = high anxiety, low avoidance
      negative view of selves but positive views of others; emotionally dependent, negative affects, hyper vigilance, low self-esteem
    • dismissive = early unresponsive care
      = low anxiety, high avoidance
      positive view of selves (see selves as resilient and not needing others), but negative views of others; uncomfortable with closeness, denial of attachment needs, avoidance of closeness, intimacy, dependency or close relationships; high self-reliance and independence
    • fearful = frequent rejection/abandonment by early caregivers
      = high anxiety, high avoidance
      seek social contact but inhibited by fear of rejection; approach/avoidance behavior in relationships; high negative affects and poor self-esteem

    INTERVENTIONS & SOLUTIONS:
    Trauma-Informed Care vs. Ordinary Care

    As mentioned previously in this post, Protective Factors contribute to Resilience, and both are great predictors of how well a child or adult will do when affected by ACEs (or any other Risk Factors). The basic formula is that when any of the Risk Factors is present (and the higher the number, the worse the situation is for that person), increasing the number and types of Protective Factors for that person is very likely to increase their Resilience, which, in turn, decreases the likelihood that the person will succumb to peer pressure or inner motivation to engage in risky behaviors or fall victim to other risks and those consequences.

    Similarly to Risk Factors (see above), researchers have divided Protective Factors into three categories: Individual, Family and Community

    Researchers are also discovering that these same Protective Factors, particularly those that arise from within the Community and Individual (since Family is presumed to be the source/cause of the ACEs) can increase that person’s tendency toward Resilience, which then can mitigate the effects of ACEs as well.

    Individual Protective Factors include:
    —Positive physical development
    —Academic achievement/intellectual development
    —High self-esteem
    —Emotional self-regulation
    —Good coping skills and problem-solving skills
    —Engagement and connections in two or more of the following contexts: school, with peers, in athletics, employment, religion, culture

    Family Protective Factors include:
    —Family provides structure, limits, rules, monitoring, and predictability
    —Supportive relationships with family members
    —Clear expectations for behavior and values

    Community (School, Neighborhood, and Community) Protective Factors include:
    —Presence of mentors and support for development of skills and interests
    —Opportunities for engagement within school and community
    —Positive norms
    —Clear expectations for behavior
    —Physical and psychological safety
    from: https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth

    Some researchers have further divided these Factors into three age groupings: Early Childhood (ages newborn – 5 or 6 [school-age]), Childhood (ages 5 or 6 – 11 or 12 [ending before middle school or junior high school age]), and Adolescence (middle/junior high school and high school ages, 11 or 12 – 18). This classification is used to study each sector and period of a youth’s life more closely.


    image from http://buncombeaces.org/

    “Once you know your ACEs score and its impact, there are personal strategies and community resources that exist to help you. Asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, and paying attention to your instincts and feelings are ways to improve your life. These can assist in breaking the cycle of ACEs in your family.

    Reaching out to a trusted member of your community such as a doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or a church or spiritual leader is another way to get help [emphsis mine]….Using these suggestions, both early in a child’s life and as an adult, can lessen the impact of ACEs on you and your family.”

    10 Key Components of Trauma-Informed Care:


    image from https://www.chcs.org/resource/10-key-ingredients-trauma-informed-care/

    “Trauma-Informed” (for educational settings, care, caregivers, institutions, youth programs, prisons, juvenile detention centers, court and police officers, etc.) is the newest way to describe what we MUST create and strengthen given our understanding of ACEs and the impacts of trauma throughout one’s lifetime. When society has better methods for prevention, we hope this won’t be as necessary. Until then, we are in dire need of more training, better programs, and more awareness.
    https://www.rchc.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Trauma-Informed-Care-slides.pdf

    Research confirms that a person’s ability to Cope with trauma (and the neurodevelopmental effects) is rooted in the presence or absence of these circumstances and factors:

    Frequency – Single vs. repeated trauma (obviously, even one trauma is terrible, but more often is worse)
    Age when trauma occurred or began (the younger a person is, the worse off the person is likely to be)
    Agent – natural vs. human (weather disasters, earthquakes and fires are horribly traumatic, but war, interpersonal and domestic violence (being the victim OR the witness), and other human-inflicted harm are WORSE than “natural” causes of trauma when it comes to effects on the victims)
    Nature of the trauma – accidental vs. purposeful (particularly when the perpetrator was supposed to have been trustworthy and purported to “love” the victim, intentional harm is the worst type of trauma for a child)
    Environmental supports – Innate Resilience (there is some evidence in the fairly new field of epigenetics that some of us are “naturally” more resilient, particularly when it comes to resisting or lessening the effects of ACEs in the forms of bad health/diseases. Let’s find out WHY!)

    A lot of research on what contributes to resilience is happening NOW and recently.

    From 2017, we can read: “Epigenetic Embedding of Early Adversity and Developmental Risk,” from Marla B. Sokolowski, PhD, F.R.S.C., W. Thomas Boyce, MD, Co-Directors of the Child and Brain Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Canada, who discovered: “[T]he embedding of adversity-related epigenetic marks is associated with increased susceptibility to compromised development and mental health….

    “[A]dverse conditions in early childhood affect the number and placement of epigenetic marks on the DNA sequence. The developmental and health effects of early exposures to adversity and stress are socioeconomically partitioned, with children from the lower ranks of social class sustaining greater and more severe threats to normative development. Epigenetic processes that affect gene expression almost certainly have an impact on adversity-related, maladaptive outcomes….

    “Adverse early childhood experiences can leave lasting marks on genes that are involved with stress responses, immunity and mental health, underscoring the importance of creating an optimal early childhood environment for each and every child.”

    Other researchers created two categories of children to show the differences in fragility, “‘orchid children’…are more sensitive to both negative and positive environmental factors than their more resilient counterparts, called ‘dandelion children,'” which the above researchers utilized in their studies.
    http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/epigenetics/according-experts/epigenetic-embedding-early-adversity-and-developmental-risk

    A great podcast/radio show, On Being, with host, Krista Tippett, provides many informative, entertaining and important audio experiences. This one is very relevant, here: RACHEL YEHUDA talks about “How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations.”

    “The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. She has studied the children of Holocaust survivors and of pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks.

    “But her science is a form of power for flourishing beyond the traumas large and small that mark each of our lives and those of our families and communities [emphasis mine].”

    Read the transcript and/or listen to podcast: https://onbeing.org/programs/rachel-yehuda-how-trauma-and-resilience-cross-generations-nov2017/

    If you have more time and prefer the video format, Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., talks about “The Resilient Brain: Epigenetics, Stress and the Lifecourse,” at Cornell University in 2017.

    For science geeks, this study is awesome! “Epigenetic modulation of inflammation and synaptic plasticity promotes resilience against stress in mice”: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02794-5

    “Three key neuroscience concepts are recommended for inclusion in Trauma-Informed Care programs and practices in ways that can enrich program design and guide the development of practical, Resilience -oriented interventions that can be evaluated for outcomes.

    “A Resilience -oriented approach to TIC is recommended that moves from trauma information to neuroscience-based action with practical skills to build greater capacity for self-regulation and self-care in both service providers and clients.”

    Another source of info about ACEs comes from this report, below (audio-only, with some text), from my former home-town public radio station, KRCB, in the North Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, California:


    image from http://radio.krcb.org/post/educating-fellows-counter-adverse-childhood-experiences#stream/0

    Individual Protective Factors and Professional Training and Environmental Factors that Assist with Coping with ACEs are:
    —Social support
    —Supervision and consultation
    —Resolution of one’s personal issues
    —Strong ethical principles of practice
    —Knowledge of theory
    —On-going training
    —Emotional intelligence/regulation
    —Awareness of the potential and impact of Violent Trauma (VT).

    https://damonashworthpsychology.com/2017/09/14/the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study/

    Then, of course, we have Oprah weighing in (finally) a few weeks ago:

    Oprah’s 60 Minutes segment on ACES, 3/11/18

    image from https://www.chcs.org/project/advancing-trauma-informed-care/

    Oprah (and others) talk about how we need to shift our focus from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” with all traumatized individuals.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-treating-childhood-trauma/

    This video also mentions two important area of research about the brain and mental health related to ACEs or positive experiences. Good to know, but I’m still wanting more about what HELPS post-ACEs. Here we go!

    “Winfrey speaks to Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatristand neuroscientist who authorities have consulted on high-profile events, such as school shootings. She also visits two organizations that treat their clients with the so-called “trauma-informed care” approach shaped by Dr. Perry. Both the agencies, SaintA and the Nia Imani Family Center, are in Milwaukee, where Winfrey spent part of her youth and experienced her own instances of childhood trauma.”

    So, we know that chaos, threats, inconsistency, uncertainty, neglect, violence each constitutes a kind of traumas for children, and experiencing even one of these increases vulnerability in later life to many types of issues (academic, physical and mental health, interpersonal difficulties, employment problems).

    That is the reason we need to move from focusing on consequences to preventing/mitigating early traumas/wounds.

    One main “movement” is to bring in more institutions that provide “trauma-informed care.” Installing these changes is the best way to transform education, social and human services programming and treatment.

    ACEs and I

    I have written about ACEs before, disclosing that I have a very high ACEs score (9.5 out of 10). By the statistics reported since the early 1990s (see below), I should be in prison, institutionalized, or already dead. But, I’m not. Why is that?

    Again, we need to ask “what happened?” rather than “what’s wrong?” to/with a child. Then, we need to build on strengths rather than focus on deficiencies or problems.

    Why do some of us not have PTSD after many ACEs? Our reactions seem to be proportional to the numbers and frequency of whatever positive, protective, nurturing relationships we have had in early life. I am an example of an unusual case. See below.

    I decided to look more deeply into this topic: what fosters Resilience? How do children and youth with high trauma scores not be completely unhealthy or miserable as adults? My discoveries are in this post and will keep coming.

    Please comment on my site, on this post, regardless of where you’re reading this. The post is available starting 4/11/18: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or https://wp.me/p2bP0n-27w

    Other Resources

    Alice Miller‘s work = relevant because her main recommendation and research evidence are in alignment with ACEs’ researchers and therapists: it only takes ONE significant adult in a traumatized child’s life to greatly mitigate and even ameliorate the effects and later consequences of the trauma. I can attest to that truth.


    Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

    Here is a great post about this book and Miller‘s work: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/suffer-the-children/201206/the-drama-the-gifted-child

    Some local/regional resources (near both USA coasts), and more on their site, from CHCS (Center for Healthcare Strategies):

    Center for Youth Wellness, San Francisco, CA, will implement adverse childhood experiences (ACE) screening, care coordination, and data management strategies to further its integrated care approach for addressing the physical and behavioral health needs of families with ACE exposure.

    Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Newark, NJ, will establish care coordination, trauma screening and treatment, professional development, and data integration practices.

    Montefiore Medical Group, Bronx, NY, will train all staff within its 22-practice outpatient ambulatory care network in trauma-informed approaches to care using a multi-disciplinary train-the-trainer model including patient representatives.

    San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA, will develop a leadership model, learning community, and collaborative work group that will infuse trauma-informed systems’ principles and practices into public health and other child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies.

    Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, Philadelphia, PA, will train all staff to adopt a standard approach to collective mindfulness practice and use an integrated mind-body treatment model in working with patients who have experienced trauma.

    Women’s HIV Program at the University of California, San Francisco, CA, will develop a formal service integration partnership with the Trauma Recovery Center at San Francisco General Hospital to address the effects of lifetime trauma on adults.

At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

Yes, you can find hundreds of articles that tell you that everyone between 6 months and 100 years old MUST get a flu shot. But, if you read the references for those articles, they are clearly paid for and written by those who work for the mainstream medical/pharmaceutical industries.

Here are some that are NOT from those sources, but are nonetheless reliable, factual and important to read before deciding to get a flu shot this year (or any year).

BTW: If you’re reading this on January 1, 2018, it is almost officially too late in most of the world to have a flu shot be effective (it takes 2 – 3 weeks to work, IF it works; flu season is generally thought to be over by the end of January).

Some good reasons:
—There is little proof the flu vaccine is effective.

—Vaccines contain harmful adjuvants and preservatives, and possibly viral proteins.

—Influenza is not a serious threat.

from: Why Not To Get the Flu Shot
http://www.sophiahi.com/why-not-to-get-the-flu-shot/

And, more or similar reasons:
—Studies Consistently Show Flu Shots Don’t Work

—There has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.

—The flu vaccine was no more effective for children than a placebo.

from: Why You Should Not Get the Flu Shot
https://www.drdavidwilliams.com/why-you-should-not-get-the-flu-shot

These are my favorite reasons, here:
—It’s not effective for children under age 18 or for adults over 65.

—Between ages 18 to 65, it is only 30-50% effective in an average year (which means it fails between 50-70% of the time) and up to 80% in a perfectly matched year (a much lower number than most vaccines). THIS iS NOT a “perfectly matched year” by anyone’s reckoning (2017-18).

—There is no decrease in flu transmission rate or hospitalization rate for people who have gotten the flu vaccine.
from: Why Smart Doctors Don’t Get Flu Shots
http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/smart-doctors-dont-get-flu-shots/

IF YOU DO GET A FLU SHOT, do not get it too “early,” since it is only effective (IF it is effective that year) for about 2 – 3 months.
ALSO, do not wait too long (since it takes 2 – 3 weeks to “kick in,” IF it is even for the current strain of flu that year (which it often is not).
THESE facts are from the CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL.

Good luck, drink lots of fluids, wash your hands and cover your coughs.

1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences)

It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences); MOST people have at least one out of 10 ACEs. “An ACE score is a tally of different types of #abuse, #neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later #health problems,” including #cancer, #hepatitis, #heart disease, #diabetes, #hypertension, mental illness, frequent sicknesses of other kinds (e.g., “auto”-immune diseases), COPD (obstructive breathing problems), #addictions and #allergies, and many other problems.

These effects are due to the bodies’ stress response system’s being on overload, chronically and continuously (adrenalin, cortisol), which can screw up one’s immune system. The symptoms can show up immediately (childhood #asthma, skin #rashes, #ADHD and other “behavior” issues, including #eating disorders) and throughout one’s life, especially after age 40.

Children who live with/are exposed to conditions that put them under extreme #stress, repeatedly, have our brain structures altered forever, developing abnormal #hormonal and #immune systems, and affecting the ways one’s DNA is read and transferred (so, ACEs influence current AND future generations).

More facts and anecdotes are in this podcast, Hardwired, including info about the genetic connection to personality traits and other significant science about our biology’s and environment’s interdependent influences. Listen to that and more here–the same page as other archived shows is linked to: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/archive

Want to see or take the ACEs quiz? http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean


I responded “yes” for 9 out of 10 ACEs.

Unsurprisingly, my health has been “compromised” or difficult all my life. Oddly, though, I consider myself “a healthy person with particular problems that are /have been mostly under control,” mostly because they haven’t completely prevented me from many types of success.. Some problems have gotten worse after I suffered a TBI/concussion 3.5 years ago (which we know now also adversely affects one’s immune system, among other consequences. I have many blog posts about this in 2014 – 2015, at http://www.sallyember.com/blog). Some ongoing health issues have been worsening with age (I am well over 40). I have, however, never been addicted to anything even though that “runs in my family.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The majority of the people who have scored over 7 out of 10 ACEs have been/are still incarcerated, living with severe mental or physical illnesses, or are already dead by my age. I am one of the few luckier ones who isn’t in the worst situations.

This “luck” is probably due to my having had many positive conditions, some self-selected:

  • 1) since age 17, been meditating daily;
  • 2) always making sure I have regular exercise;
  • 3) many positive older teens and then adults were in my life during the most stressful years;
  • 4) lots of individual and group counseling/ therapy during and since undergraduate years in college;
  • 5) access to thousands of books (Yay to public libraries!) and excellent, advanced education and training (including in self-care and mental/social health);
  • 6) some good family support;
  • 7) education/experiences with music, the arts, summer camp;
    and,

  • 8) great friends.

For more information about resources and prevention as well as the original research on ACEs, visit the USA’s CDC (Center for Disease Control)’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html

What Matters

What Matters

As I approach my 62nd birthday (August 22), I reflect on the news stories I see/hear almost daily, now, that corroborate and validate most of my life’s choices, values and beliefs. Sharing, now, so you don’t all have to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I/we were right. Get with it.

Interactions matter. Treating all humans with respect and meeting humans needs (food, clothing, shelter, meaningful and well-paid work, safety) properly are right. Equality, egalitarianism, acceptance, compassion, kindness and respect are the right ways to greet, treat and live with all others, regardless of perceived or actual differences among us and changes in circumstances. Ending oppression, discrimination, bias, prejudice and all forms of subjugation must occur.

RespectKindness
image from http://www.tomvmorris.com
Respect

Government and economics matter. Democracy (when it works) and socialism are right: we must listen to and take care of each other.

Conflict resolution matters. War is wrong, especially war that only makes profits for a few corporations and individuals and ruins land, kills/maims people and destroys economies for everyone else. All the “police actions”/wars the USA has engaged in since World War II (and some of our actions during World War I and World War II) were/are horribly wrong. Millions have been harmed or died for NOTHING except to enrich a few. We must learn to communicate better, de-escalate, use diplomacy, engage in dialogue, compromise and yield.

Give-peace-a-chance-no-more-war1-e1442090350987
image from http://www.popularresistance.org
Peace

Health matters. Eating healthfully and organically is right: better for us, better for the farmers, better for the environment. Contact sports that cause head injuries must end: change the rules or close down those sports completely for children and teens and give adults information that allows them to make educated choices about participation. Sugary foods and drinks, salty and fatty snacks and other negative-impact foods should be made less available and/or taxed very highly so fewer people can eat/get them so readily.

Other beings matter. Treating animals with respect at all times if we are going to use, eat (which some would argue is wrong), imprison and otherwise subjugate them (less stress and pain during and before slaughter, while being raised and during captivity of all kinds) is right.

Consumers’ choices matter. Choosing to purchase items that are made by people who are paid well, treated well and free to come and go is right. Choosing to purchase items whose production (harvest/manufacture/acquisition) does not harm or destroy the planet, the economy, or the people involved is right.

you-can-make-a-difference
image from http://arabedrossian.org
Healthy planet

Parenting requires time, effort, knowledge, education and support to be done well. Childcare can be a positive aspect of young children’s lives as long as they also have good parenting.

Minds and bodies matter. Meditation, yoga, stress management, play, listening to each other better, being outdoors more and learning/listening to music/making art all help families, businesses, schools and individuals in every possible way. Beauty, nature and gratitude are important. Learn/include and do these. Drink a lot of clean water. Sleep more and in better conditions.

healthy body and mind
Healthy choices

Reproductive freedom and rights are integral to a woman’s dignity and independence and are the business of no one else besides each woman and her chosen medical team.

Religions whose leaders or principles restrict the freedom or impinge upon the safety of or intend to demean anyone, inspire divisiveness or hatred, or foment disrespect for non-believers or some members of their own sects because of gender, age, sexual orientation or other characteristics are not to be tolerated any longer and must be ended.

BigotryLifestyle550
image from http://www.patheos.com
Civil and personal rights

Facts are not subject to opinions. No one cares what anyone thinks about facts. Facts are not optional. People who misunderstand, misuse or misguide themselves or others regarding any facts (about the impacts of climate change, the dangers of fracking, etc.) are not to be given any credibility or listened to by anyone with even moderate intelligence.

Tyson quote
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., facts quote

Play time matters. Violence begets violence: video games, TV shows and films, music lyrics that demonstrate/engage users in repeated and frequent incidents of violence (personal, sexual, group) desensitize the viewers/players and generate much more violence overall in the culture. Games/shows that degrade women/girls and depict members of particular ethnic or other groups as “the enemy” or the objects of degradation cause users/viewers to adopt these perspectives and behave badly towards these individuals in actual encounters. Children’s and teens’ time using these games or watching these shows must be curtailed. Bring back more outdoor play, longer and better equipment for recess play indoors and outside. Sports and games that encourage coaches/leaders to discriminate among, exclude or otherwise demean participants or activities in training or play that cause players harm must be changed or stopped.

recess
Play

Excellence matters. Skills, talents, education and intelligence are not all equally distributed or acquired. We are not all the same even though we are to be treated with equal respect. Not everyone wins. Everyone is not equally good at everything. Not everyone can earn an “A.” 49.9% of any group is below average, by definition. Get used to it.

Collaboration matters. Governments, organizations/groups of all types and businesses of all sizes operate more successfully when they utilize collaborative, inclusive engagement rather than hierarchical, exclusionary dominance do better economically, have higher morale, have lower attrition/crime rates and better attendance/participation.

collaboration-background4
image from http://www.cptwebs.com
Collaboration

I could have provided a lot of research URLs to back up each of these claims, but I don’t need to, any longer. They are all true. YOU do the research.

Stop Using #Antibiotics Unnecessarily: You’re killing us all!

Stop Using #Antibiotics Unnecessarily: You’re killing us all!

Antibiotics-2-1
image from http://www.wellbeingart.com

Articles about the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics (in pills/oral, suppository, topical/ointment, hand soap and sanitizer forms) are becoming as prevalent as the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics:

A) “‘Dangerously high’ antibiotic resistance levels worldwide: WHO [World Health Organization]” http://news.yahoo.com/dangerously-high-antibiotic-resistance-levels-worldwide-112717705.html
November 16, 2015
“Antibiotic resistance, which can turn common ailments into killers, has reached dangerous levels globally.”

More than 90% of ear infections are viral. Stop giving/taking antibiotics for them. They don’t help and they harm.
All colds and ‘flus are viral. Same thing.

antibiotic resistance graphs
image from http://www.primardiales.com

B) “The Dangerous Side Of The Antibiotics That No One Will Tell You”
http://www.explorehealthyfood.com/the-dangerous-side-of-the-antibiotics-that-no-one-will-tell-you/
October 24, 2015
“Bacteria increasingly become immune to the drugs designed to kill them. Some antibiotics simply don’t work any longer, and some will stop functioning soon….The more often we use it, the more we enable mutating of the bacteria that multiply.”

MRSA is on the rise. It eats your skin, muscles, bones. Need to know more?

MRSA info
image from http://www.slideshare.net/eviedawson22/skin-staph-infection-mrsa

C) “Antibiotics fed to wholesome livestock dangerous to youngsters”
http://www.salemstandard.com/antibiotics-fed-to-healthy-livestock-harmful-to-children/12742/
November 16, 2015
“…[U]sing the drugs in healthy animals meant for food has reduced their ability to treat infections in humans — posing a potentially serious health crisis….Most of the use involves the addition of low doses of antimicrobial agents to the feed of healthy animals over prolonged periods to promote growth and increase feed efficiency or at a range of doses to prevent disease….These nontherapeutic uses contribute to resistance and create new health dangers for humans….Children under 5 are especially at risk for such infections because of their immature immune systems…”

More reasons to stop eating meat, chicken, pork, any other animals, if you can, or stop eating those who are fed antibiotics during their lives and stop feeding them to your family.

D) “9 reasons to avoid antibiotics for life”
http://www.naturalhealth365.com/side-effects-of-antibiotics-1620.html
October 29, 2015

[Read article for full explanations of each of these reason]

“1. Antibiotics treat symptoms, not causes.”
“2. Antibiotic use has been linked to cancer.”
“3. Deadly allergic reactions.”
“4. Development of antibiotic-resistant ‘super bugs.’”
“5. Overpopulation of candida albicans [yeast, ringworm, jock itch].”
“6. Chronic fatigue syndrome.”
“7. Disruption of intestinal bacteria.”
“8. Weakening of the immune system.”
“9. Nutrient loss and mineral deficiency.”

topical antibiotics
image from http://www.iconii.com

E) “ALMOST HALF OF ALL ANTIBIOTIC USE IS UNNECESSARY”
http://fqresearch.org/are-antibiotics-necessary
November 15, 2015
“…[A]ntibiotic use is supposed to be reserved for confirmed bacterial infections, [so] the only infections that antibiotics work for, any prescribing of antibiotics outside of a confirmed bacterial infection, is considered inappropriate.”

And, while we’re on the subject, STOP USING HAND-SANITIZERS!

F) “5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Hand Sanitizers!”
http://kupdates.com/health-wellness/5-reasons-stop-using-hand-sanitizers/
November 16, 2015

[Read article for full explanations of each of these reason]

“1. It Adversely Affects Your Skin”
“2. It Can Lead To The Development Of ‘Superbugs'”
“3. It Contains Unknown [to most people] And Possibly Dangerous Chemicals”
“4. It Can Increase Your Skin’s Absorption Of BPA [very dangerous chemical found in plastics, receipts, tickets, more]”
“5. It Isn’t Even That Effective”

G) “New “Superbug” Gene Found in Animals and People in China”
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-superbug-gene-found-in-animals-and-people-in-china/
November 19, 2015
“A new gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics has been found in people and pigs in China — including in samples of bacteria with epidemic potential, researchers said on Wednesday….
“‘One of the few solutions to uncoupling these connections is limitation or cessation of colistin use in agriculture….Failure to do so will create a public health problem of major dimensions.'”

Don’t be frightened and passive: CHANGE YOUR WAYS!

What to do instead of using antibiotics? Prevention and Home Remedies!

H) “We’ve been fighting morning breath all wrong”
http://www.sciencealert.com/we-ve-been-fighting-morning-breath-all-wrong
November 18, 2015
“…Streptococcous salivarius K12…[could be] the bacteria strain [that] could soon be put into a lozenge or spray and used as a probiotic, or beneficial mix of bacteria, to knock out the bad bacteria that causes bad breath….[A]ntibacterial solutions like mouthwash and hand sanitiser are being overused to the point where they could be doing more harm than good.”

I) “New Study Shows Ginger is 10.000x Stronger Than Chemo (and only kills cancer cells)”
http://www.healthnutnews.com/new-study-shows-ginger-is-10000x-stronger-than-chemo-and-only-kills-cancer-cells/
November 2, 2015
“…[G]inger has been found to be more effective than many cancer drugs at treating cancer, including chemotherapy. There is mounting evidence of some cancer drugs being ineffective and actually accelerating the death of cancer patients.”

turmeric ginger garlic
image from http://www.amazon.com

1) Strengthen your immune system with natural additions and supplements: Add/increase turmeric, garlic, oregano oil, echinacea, ginger, Vitamin C; eat a balanced diet; consume less sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

benefits of oregano oil
image from http://www.diyorganic.com

2) Gargle with salt water or hydrogen peroxide (diluted) whenever you notice/feel a cold or ‘flu symptom or have been exposed to a virus or bacterial source.

3) Wash your hands for longer (sing “Happy Birthday” slowly twice while washing) AND with hot water and non-antimicrobial/antibacterial soap), every time you touch public spaces/objects, and more frequently.

4) If you are particularly sensitive/at risk, wear a face mask and thin gloves when in public or around people.

5) Drink more fresh water (up to 8 cups [64 oz or about 2 litres]) per day.

6) Sleep longer and better (don’t use electronic devices before going to sleep; turn off all electric devices near bed; don’t watch TV to fall asleep).

7) Exercise at least 3 times/week for 45 minutes each.

8) Meditate daily, at least 15 minutes.

9) Start/continue doing yoga.

10) Play music more often.

transfer-factor-and-our-immune-system-5-728
image from http://www.amazingforlife.com

11) Sing, laugh, breathe deeply many times per day.

12) Smile more.

IF you are actually infected with a BACTERIA (not a virus!!!), check with your doctor for the least-invasive, least-intensive way to eliminate it (fewest number of days for lowest dose of antiobiotic medication) AND take acidophilus or other pro-biotics while taking a course of ANY antibiotic to maintain/restore the “good” bacteria in your digestive tracts.

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

#Health Myths Busted: #Gluten Sensitivity is Mostly A Fad, Not Actual Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease poster
image from http://nugonutrition.com

According to many researchers and recent research in both the UK and the USA, fewer than 6%, and many say closer to 1% of the general population actually suffer from #Celiac disease, which does make humans unable to digest gluten. In fact: “Ninety-nine percent of individuals [this doctor sees] who report gluten sensitivity, however, do not have celiac disease….”

Research like this utilizes a method called “double-blind,” which means not only do the test subjects not know, but the researchers do not know, either, whom is receiving the “treatment” or substance being tested and whom is receiving the fake, or placebo substance, until after the research period has ended.

What did they discover about self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity?

“The placebo effect is much greater for subjective symptoms (such as those of patients with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity) than is appreciated. It is seen in 20% to 40% [of] individuals. That is, of patients who report an improvement in symptoms by eliminating gluten, 20% to 40% are NOT improved. They THINK they are improved….[A]lmost all have had their symptoms return or continue with reduced severity despite continuing the [gluten-free] diet.”

noncoeliac_gluten_sensitivity
image from http://allergiesandyourgut.com

Back and forth we go, with individuals making great claims at parties, schools, family dinners and restaurants about their inability to digest gluten despite not having been diagnosed formally with Celiac disease. People around them are getting frustrated, with good reason.

“[A]fter years of debating the existence of nonceliac gluten sensitivity, a scientifically rigorous study has been done that sheds light on the issue. In this study, 37 patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity, well-controlled on a gluten-free diet, were studied….[T]he group of patients with self-reported gluten sensitivity were not gluten-sensitive when tested.”
[all above quotes from link, below]
http://www.medicinenet.com/nonceliac_gluten_sensitivity_intolerance/article.htm

What are we to do, then, we who want to support our loved ones and help them be healthy, feel good, not feel negatively judged by us?

This is a dilemma, because it is difficult to determine what is causing these people’s symptoms when they do not have actual Celiac disease or wheat allergies. A number of causes could be in effect, in varying combinations, some of which cannot actually be proven to exist in each person other than through dietary trial-and-error, which, as we have seen, often fails to provide factual data due to psychological interference.

“Unlike wheat allergy and coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity does not have a known set of biomarkers — doctors can’t tell if a patient is suffering from [gluten sensitivity] by examination (although there is a blood test, it doesn’t give accurate results for many patients). So [gluten sensitivity] can only be diagnosed by first ruling out other diseases and then trying out a gluten-free diet.”

Okay. So, we tolerate our friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors as they attempt to figure out what is causing their discomfort, bloating, gas, pain, etc., but our patience is wearing thin, isn’t it? We may think that their self-diagnosed gluten problems are just the latest in a string of dietary and health fads that cause attention-seekers to become obsessed and challenging to be around, for the rest of us, don’t we?

Maybe these people mostly want to lose weight? Wrong method, though.

foods with no gluten
image from http://www.livestrong.com

Similar to the “fat-free” trend, which caused many to over-eat the so-called “fat-free” foods while clearly gaining weight due to ingesting extra calories, not in the form of fats and oils, but still getting a lot of carbs and sugars, gluten-free is no solution to weight problems, either.

“‘If you go on a gluten-free diet, taking substitutes like gluten-free beer, pasta, cookies and so on, if anything, you gain weight. If you take a regular cookie, it’s 70 calories. The same cookie, gluten-free, can go as high as 210 calories. You have to substitute gluten with something that makes that cookie palatable, so you have to load it with fat and sugars. Just consider that. A gram of protein is four calories, a gram of fat is nine.’

“But, [Fasano] adds, it may be possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet by choosing natural products like fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.”

To add insult to injury, gluten-free products are pricier than ordinary versions of the same foods.

Maybe the answer, for weight loss, is to eat foods that are both fat-free and gluten-free. Of course, those are also likely to be taste- and flavor-free. Take away the MSG, too, and you may as well drink water or eat cardboard.

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33486177

Summary
Should we or shouldn’t we eat gluten-free, then?

First, how difficult is it to eat gluten-free? VERY, but getting easier.

“To avoid gluten, you have to stay away from all wheat-based foods and ingredients, from white and whole-wheat flours to kamut, spelt, semolina, and wheat bran and germ.

“That means no bread, pasta, couscous, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, cereals, crackers, gravies, or beer. Less obviously, it also means no soy sauce, bouillon cubes, candies, food starch, fried foods, or even oats if they’re processed in the same facility as wheat.”

Second, who benefits from a gluten-free diet, besides those with verified Celiac disease and/or wheat allergies?

gluten-free-label-uk-008
image from http://www.theguardian.com

“[T]here is some evidence to suggest gluten-free eating patterns can also improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.”

However, they may be getting relief from their symptoms not because of avoiding gluten, but because of avoiding FODMAPs.

“[P]eople who say their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet may actually be reacting to another set of carbohydrates in wheat called called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). In other words, it’s not the gluten that’s bothering people, but other sugars found in wheat.”

Third, be cautious. There is evidence that people who follow this diet who do not need to be on it and who do not track the supplements they’re missing out on and replace them could be doing themselves more harm than good.

“‘People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets.’ These include iron, calcium, fiber, and folate. ‘Along with fruits and vegetables, the most common sources of dietary fiber are whole-grain breads and cereals, which contain gluten,’ the University of Washington’s gluten-free primer states. ‘Many people on gluten-free diets tend to eat inadequate amounts of fiber, which may lead to constipation.'”

Also, we now know that we need certain types of bacteria to flourish in our guts/intestines, and when they do not, we can suffer greatly everything from indigestion to depression, many worse problems than bloating. “Going gluten-free may also reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has implications for immune system function.”

[above quotes from link, below]
http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8517749/gluten-free-diet-nutrition-celiac-disease

grain facts
image from http://lifeonmanitoulin.com