Monthly Archives: November 2010

We Can Train Service Dogs To Help Us Balance And Walk



How’s your Monday going so far?


How’s your Monday going so far? If you’re like me, even the word “Monday” triggers angst anthems like the Mamas and the Papas “Monday Monday” (…can’t trust that day), and of course the Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays” about a kid who burns down the school all because of how she feels about Mondays.

Culturally, this maligned 24-hour block of time has some major collective bad attitude stacked against it, and I confess to having to be very intentional to avoid being part of the angry mob. Mondays for me start with a 5 AM wake up to get my personal practice in before the day gets rolling. Then, because I both teach yoga and run a company, it means shuttling about NYC for client meetings, staff meetings and teaching till 9 PM. “Harried” puts it mildly.

Curious if the hype about Monday has any teeth, I googled to see if there are stats on what day of the week is preferred or disliked over any other. Surprisingly I didn’t find any definitive statistics. But I did find this in online discussions of the various attributes and benefits of the days of the week: thematically, people who said they like Mondays best see it as a fresh start, a moment of diving in anew.

Aaah. How much better does that sentiment feel than the Mamas and the Papas notion of dedicating the day to “crying all of the time?”

If you experience low or negative energy about Mondays, congratulations: you’ve got a really fantastically specific event for self-inquiry that happens EVERY WEEK. We have the option to treasure any and all moments in life, so your relationship with Monday is a great place to practice your transformational skills.

First you’ve got to get underneath the thinking that puts you at odds with Monday. Get honest with yourself: are you holding general fears about your ability to meet expectations? Do you tell yourself negative speculation about things that are yet to unfold? Do you prevent yourself from trusting that no matter what unfolds you will respond as best you can and that is all you can expecct of yourself? Look at the mantra or narrative you hold about the day, your schedule and the week. Is there some way the stories you tell yourself about the past, present or future are sabotaging your ability to experience the day as it IS?

man raising hands to sky 


Then you have to claim some part of Monday for yourself and make it sacred. “Fresh. A moment of diving in anew.” Many ancient cultures GOT that transitions are difficult and held beginnings as sacred by ritualizing them. We’ve got remnants of that in our culture — in yoga or sports events you can see participants praying, setting intention or even singing together, be it an OM or the national anthem.

I’m not suggesting you take on something that doesn’t feel organic to your interests, but it is up to you to identify things you CAN do to presence yourself to the potential grace of a new week beginning. Is it setting aside a minute or two for watching the light as it changes moment by moment? Is it filling the bird feeder outside your window with attention to every aspect of the experience, the seeds, the birds, the fresh air? It could be as simple as watering the plants or taking a just a moment to read a poem, the bible, or whatever inspires you. Just make sure you DO IT, and not like you are performing an act on a checklist.

Most of all, and perhaps the biggest fool-proof tip I can offer anyone with respect to transforming any moment in life that feels oppositional, I’ve found that when I move with a sense of connectedness to my body and breath as my first priority, the rest of my life doesn’t seem as drama-filled. If you don’t have a physical practice to help you get that connectedness or somehow have missed doing your practice on a given day, try this simple ayurvedic therapy: lay your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly. If you close your eyes and send your awareness to attentively listening to your breath rhythm and actively sending love into your own heart for even 11 breaths, you are both acknowledging yourself as a simple life form and cultivating compassion for yourself/others.

On a Monday or any other day, this compassion and connectedness go a long way towards beginning anew.

Study: No Improvement in Hospital Safety


Researchers See Little Change in Medical Errors Over the Last Decade

By Matt McMillen
WebMD Health News
doctor and patient in hospital room

Nov. 24, 2010 — Some hospitals are no safer today than they were 10 years ago, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In 1999, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report revealed that medical errors cause as many as 98,000 deaths and more than 1 million injuries per year. Researchers have found that despite efforts to ensure patient safety in the years since the report was published, those rates have remained largely unchanged.

“We were disappointed but not very surprised [by the results],” study researcher Christopher Paul Landrigan, MD, MPH, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, says.

The researchers looked at 10 randomly selected hospitals in North Carolina, a state that, according to the study, has been highly engaged in efforts to improve patient safety in the aftermath of the IOM report.

“Since North Carolina has been a leader in efforts to improve safety,” the researchers write, “a lack of improvement in this state suggests that further improvement is also needed at the national level.”

In conducting the study, researchers reviewed 2,341 hospital admissions from 2002 to 2007. A quarter of that number suffered some sort of medical error while receiving medical care.

While most of the errors caused temporary complications, such as urinary tract infections, hypoglycemia, and pressure ulcers, nearly 10% were life threatening. Fourteen patients died; more than half of those deaths — and the majority of other problems — were preventable, according to the study.

What Needs to Change

Landrigan says that although efforts to improve patient safety have “ramped up considerably” in the past few years, success is stymied by several factors. Not least among them is the difficulty of changing long-established work practices common in hospitals, practices that he said are known to be detrimental to patient safety.

Landrigan points to the need for a reduction in the number of hours that medical residents are permitted to work in a single shift, as well as the implementation of surgical checklists and strategies proven to prevent infection. According to the study, something as basic to patient safety as hand washing continues to be a problem.

Another challenge is the lack of electronic record keeping. Less than 10% of hospitals nationwide have basic computerized records in place, the study notes, even though some studies show that increasing the use of electronic records improves patient outcomes.

“We know it works,” Landrigan says. But, he added, “these types of changes are a challenge; the health care industry has deeply established history and traditions.”

Also needed, he says, is a nationwide system for reporting harm due to medical errors. Such a system would enable researchers such as Landrigan to better track what helps — and what harms — patients. He would also like to see hospitals coordinate with one another when devising and implementing patient safety strategies.

“We are just at the beginning of improving patient safety,” Landrigan says. “I’m very hopeful that things will get better.”

Another Cure :-}


Subject: Novel Method Results In Promising Drugs For Huntington’s Disease Therapy

Novel Method Results In Promising Drugs For Huntington's Disease Therapy
25 Nov 2010 - 2:00 PST
Huntington's disease (HD) is an incurable progressive neurodegenerative
genetic disorder which affects motor coordination and leads to cognitive
decline and dementia. The disease pathology stems from a mutation in the
huntingtin (Htt) gene which results in the accumulation of toxic proteins
leading to neuronal cell death. Earlier studies have clearly implicated
caspases enzymes that break down cells as key players in the cascade of
events involved in HD neuronal death. Now scientists have identified three
small molecules that inhibit the activity of those caspases, suppressing
toxicity and rescuing neurons from cell death in cell culture. The research,
which appears in the November 24th edition of Chemistry and Biology, was led
by both Buck Institute faculty member Lisa Ellerby, Ph.D. and Yale
University faculty member Jonathan Ellman, Ph.D. Dr. Ellerby is doing follow
up studies in a mouse model of the disease.
Dr. Ellerby said a substrate based screening method was used to identify
compounds that reacted with caspases. Based on those reactions, Jonathan
Ellman, Ph.D., from the Yale University Department of Chemistry, converted
the compounds to caspase inhibitors..
Dr. Ellerby said that the inhibitors are based on properties of a drug which
had entered Phase I clinical trials for the treatment of human liver
preservation injury. "These molecules shows particular promise," said
Ellerby. "They cross the blood-brain barrier and acts selectively to block
the processes involved in HD." Dr. Ellerby said the caspase inhibitors both
suppressed the proteolysis of Htt and rescued HD neurons that have begun to
undergo cell death..
"We believe this is going to help us move the field forward because now we
can test these compounds in live animals," said Dr. Ellerby. "Up until this
point we have not identified a caspase inhibitor that has acted selectively
against the toxic effects of the Htt mutation." There is a desperate need
for a treatment for HD. Symptoms of the disease usually begin to occur in
middle age; patients are often totally incapacitated prior to death. The
worldwide prevalence of HD is 5-10 cases per 100,000 people; the rate of
occurrence is highest in peoples of Western European descent..
Other contributors to the work:.
Other Buck Institute researchers involved in the study include Francesco
DeGiacomo, Jennifer Holcomb, Ningzhe Zang, and Juliette Gafni. The research
also involved Melissa J. Leyva of the Department of Chemistry at the
University of California, Berkeley and Linda S. Kaltenbach and Donald C. Lo
of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. Other contributors
included Hyunsun Park of the CHDI Foundation in Los Angeles, CA and Guy S.
Salvesen of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, CA.
Jonathan Ellman of the Department of Chemistry at Yale University in New
Haven, CT co-authored the study. The work was supported by grants from the
National Institutes of Health, the CHDI Foundation and the Human Frontier
Science Program..
Source: Buck Institute for Age Research