Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida e-mail:
Inside This Issue
Nature vs. Nurture
Using Color As Medicine
Fluoride linked to Bone Loss
Angel of the Water
Displayed in New York City’s Central Park is a symbol of healing. Healing of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit is the explicit aim of the ancient healing science of India--called Ayurveda ( pronounced AH YOUR VAY DAH). As a symbol of social healing it is also a symbol of hope. Hope springs eternal as does the knowledge of life.
This favorite landmark of New York City's Central Park--The Angel of Water--
Nature vs. Nurture
Recently research findings involving identical twins were published in JAMA and New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that your genetic inheritance is less important for determining what diseases you will end up with than how you live your life. Diet and lifestyle, including mental and emotional factors, are seen as about twice as important as your genes for determining future health tendencies. Geneticists have determined that an estimated 3000 diseases have some genetic link, but these findings now seem to pale in the light of new research with identical twins. Ayurveda, it seems, favors this view of life, too. The doshic theory holds that the energetic properties of our food, lifestyle, and feelings, determine how the bio-chemistry of physiology will be guided. This means, in a nutshell, that you are or will become a physical expression of what it is you eat, how you play and work, and so on.
Using Color As Medicine
UNITED KINGDOM, JANUARY 20, 2002: Speaking of the bright reds and purples painted in a abstract design on the walls in the hydrotherapy room at a London hospital, Jane Duncan, artist in residence at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: "I wanted to use color to achieve a dynamic environment for the patients in the hydrotherapy room, to encourage them to move and exercise. I also wanted them to feel cheerful." But according to researchers at Leeds University, the color's Ms. Duncan used in her mural were exactly the kind of colors they found make people feel dynamic and positive.
Only the Leeds researchers used mathematics, with complicated equations and numbers, to describe how people responded positively to different colors. Dr James Nobbs, from the Color Chemistry Department at
Leeds University, said: "Until now, how people responded emotionally to color was the domain of artists and designers who could not substantiate their claims in scientific terms. But now it's proven. Color affects our emotions." Dr. Nobbs and his colleagues at Leeds University have been working with scientists in Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, to create what they call color emotions scales, a result of analyzing the response people had to different colors through word pairs. Hindu mystics have long held the knowledge of color, especially in regards to the human aura which when seen psychically, is filled with many colors which are reflections of the thoughts and emotions active in the nervous system and change according to one's state of mind.
Fluoride Does Increase Risk Of Hip Fractures
NEW YORK - Fluoride in drinking water increases the risk of hip fractures in women, according to an October 1999 American Journal of Epidemiology study. This corroborates several studies revealing a positive fluoride/hip fracture association. Furthermore, other studies dismissing a fluoride/fracture link may be flawed because they weren't gender or hip-fracture specific, report authors Kurttio, et al. A recent Lancet study showing no fluoridation/hip fracture link was not gender specific between high and low fluoride areas.
Kurttio and colleagues studied over 144,000 elderly rural Finnish people admitted to hospitals with their first hip fracture, who lived at the same address from 1967 to 1980. They found that women aged 50-64 years old exposed to natural water fluoride levels greater than 1.5 mg/liter had significantly more hip fractures than similar women least exposed to fluoride at 0.1 mg/liter or less.
"These results suggest that fluoride may be associated with some gender-dependent mechanisms or risk factors for hip fractures," report the research team.
"The scientific evidence clearly shows that fluoride damages bone even at levels added to public drinking water," says Dr. John R. Lee, physician and authority on fluoride and its bone effects.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets maximum contaminant level for fluoride of 4 parts per million (ppm) or 4 mg/liter to prevent crippling skeletal fluorosis. However, crippling skeletal fluorosis, common in India, has been reported even in areas naturally fluoridated at 1 ppm -- the level a majority of Americans consume from their fluoridated water supply.
The union of scientists and other professionals (NTEU Chapter 280) at U.S. EPA Headquarters opposes fluoridation, "based on the scientific literature documenting the increasingly out-of-control exposures to
fluoride, the lack of benefit to dental health from ingestion of fluoride and the hazards to human health from such ingestion," says EPA scientist William Hirzy, Ph.D., NTEU Senior Vice President.
Organized dentistry used a public relations scheme in the 1940s that "sold" fluoridation to America as a safe and effective method to reduce children's tooth decay. Little attention was given to what fluoride's long-term bone effects would be. Now we're finding out. Fluoride may make bones more dense, but more brittle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1996, there were approximately 340,000 hospital admissions for hip fractures in the United States. Women sustain 75 percent-80 percent of all hip fractures. Medicare costs for hip fractures were estimated at $2.9 billion in 1991. "About one-half of the people with hip fractures end up in nursing homes, and in the year following the fracture, 20 per cent of them die," reported Harold Slavkin, Director of Nation-al Institute of Dental Research (JADA, 1999).
Brain Training Improves Memory in Elderly
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Keeping the brain sharp through classes, puzzles or memory games may slow the pace of age-related memory loss in older adults, study findings suggest.
In the study, nearly 3,000 adults aged 65 to 94 who received training in memory, reasoning and speed of processing were able to reverse the decline in mental ability that often occurs among older people.
Mental function is known to affect a person's ability to live independently, also known as their functional ability, as they age. While the current study found no association between the training sessions and day-to-day functioning, more research is needed to investigate whether they would make a difference over the longer term, since the level of functional decline overall was minimal.
As a whole, the report, published in the November 13th issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association ( - ), suggests that age-related mental decline is not inevitable, Dr. Richard M. Suzman from the National Institute on Aging noted in a prepared statement.
"The trial was highly successful in showing that we can, at least in the laboratory, improve certain thinking and reasoning abilities in older people," he said.
To assess the effect of different types of memory training on mental function, a team of researchers led by Dr. Karlene Ball from the University of Alabama at Birmingham divided study volunteers into four groups. One group received 10 sessions of memory training during which they were taught strategies for remembering word lists and sequences of items.
A second group learned to solve problems that follow a certain pattern (reasoning); a third group improved their speed of processing through visual searches; and a fourth group did not receive memory training.
The sessions focused on improving memory in a way that could be useful in daily life. Problem solving skills, for instance, can be used in reading bus schedules or filling out an order sheet, while being able to find information quickly can come in handy when looking up telephone numbers or finding information on medicine bottles, the study authors explain.
And according to their findings, all three types of training improved mental function immediately after the sessions and up to 2 years later. Eighty-seven percent of adults who learned to process information quickly, for instance, demonstrated immediate improvements, compared with 74% of adults who received training in reasoning and 26% of adults who underwent memory training. Even greater improvements were seen among adults who received supplemental or "booster" training sessions.
Adults who did not receive any training showed no improvements in mental function, the investigators found.
"These interventions have the potential to reverse age-related decline," Ball's team concludes.
SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association 2002;288:2271-2281.
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