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Hospital and Medical expenses are high for managing chronic diseases. Therefore, increasing chance of cure trough adding self-healing and alternative methods to your care and then practicing disease prevention are all sound investments.  Click to Continue

The element of fear factor in the Angelina Effect.

Fear is an important instinct with which our body is equipped. Most of us have experienced the fear reaction in emergencies. It helps us act quickly when our lives are at risk. For example, in a moment of facing a head-on collision while driving, “something in us,” turns the steering wheel, avoiding an accident before we have a chance to think about it.

By contrast, when we’re making health related decisions outside of an emergency, we need to have our thinking faculties operating at their peak. Fear can be a good motivator to action, but when our decisions are fear-based, they just create more fear.

Our society uses  “crisis management” as the way of “problem solving.” Unfortunately that means that as a routine we use aggression, even self-aggression as the means of problem solving. We fight cancer, drugs, poverty, climate changes, we even fight for peace. The bitter (inconvenient) truth is that all these fights are fear motivated and represent the basic faith against ourselves where we are the first causality. “Friendly fire” kills as effectively as enemy” fire because we may actually be that “enemy.”  Our organs are part of our body-temple given to us for enjoyment, to respect, nourish, and protect. Not to cut out.

How does the Fear Factor play in the Angelina Factor?

Fear inhibits logical analysis.

Angelina reports that her choice decreased the risk of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to five percent. This statistic is derived from observing a small number of women who had BRCA 1 and 2 genes while also having family members with breast cancer. Otherwise, these women differ within their respective groups in terms of their overall health, educational and economic status and available medical resources. Each of these differences would call for different treatment strategies to be applied to each individual.

The strength of statistics lies in drawing from a large number (sample size) of people who are similar (homogenous). Therefore, it seems logical to have some reservations about these risk figures reported by Angelina. Even the highest authority in cancer research, the National Cancer Institute, cautions about making any direct generalizations from the data on BRCA (please note the addendum below this text).

Fear-based decisions to lower risk may not prevent disease.

Angelina’s decision was motivated by the prospect of lowering the risk of breast cancer in the future. Even with the anticipated dramatic decrease still leaves a five percent of risk for her. When this is applied to the greater population, the statistic may offer a variable grade of risk reduction. The cohort derived statistics when applied to an individual person are practically reduced to two, mutually exclusive possibilities; either 100 percent or zero percent, a person acquires a disease or not.

Fear influences all parts of our being, all functions of our physical body as well as our emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions. If we use these, our powerful inner resources for experiencing fear, we invite more fear-producing events. Fear and resulting stress suppress our immune system which function is to suppress any cancers otherwise present in the body. If this fails then the estimated remaining five percent risk may produce a 100 percent of undesired clinical outcome. Angelina reacted to the theoretical future risk by choosing a real current risk by going trough a major surgery and possibly experiencing unwanted consequences of that surgery.

In her statement, Angelina also mentioned the risk of ovarian cancer related to her genetic makeup, and indirectly implied that removing her ovaries may be next.

Fear limits our choices.

Fear-motivated removal of the organs may lessen the risk of cancer, yet at the same time, it may aggravate the underlying root problem, which is fear. Overwhelmed by fear, we don’t see clearly any plausible explanations leading to alternative choices.

The risk estimate which Angelina reported is based on the outdated science of genetic determinism. This reasoning defines our body as a biochemical machine programmed by its genes. It implies we are victims of the draw and cannot change our fate.

Contemporary understanding of genetics includes the science of epigenetics, which points out that the mere presence of an abnormal gene or abnormal mutation of an initially normal gene may not necessarily translate into clinical manifestation as a disease.  The activity of abnormal genes is influenced by their variability, and in fact, some variations of an abnormal gene may actually protect from disease rather than cause it. Epigenetics tells us that the most important factor in predicting genetic disease is the environment where the gene is located and operates.

What we do with our lifestyle and food choices can predict the outcome of an abnormal gene. How we handle toxins (both chemical and mental), and treat our current diseases is another predictor. There are many of these factors which can determine the course of our genes.

This a part 1.  How relevant is her story to ours?

The “Angelina Effect” is a term coined by Time in its May 27 cover story on Angelina Jolie’s preventive double mastectomy to lower her risk of breast cancer. Certainly, Angelina and her family deserve our respect for their honesty and courage in their approach to this situation.

The news media’s presentation of Angelina’s story (see my analysis in the addendum) may imply that her personal, dramatic decision constitutes a valid prescription for “the rest of us.” That would be a dangerous assumption because Angelina’s individual situation in terms of risk factors for breast cancer: BRCA1/ BRCA2 mutation plus family is directly applicable to only less than 1% of American women. Also, 95% of the 220,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually are not related to a BRCA1/ BRCA2 mutation.  Yet Angelina’s story exerts a powerful influence on individuals’ medical decisions, on the ethical and socioeconomical aspects of genetic testing and finally on medical practice. Time magazine summed-up that powerful influence as the Angelina Effect.

For us individually it is important to understand the Angelina Effect and its presentation because we, both patients and doctors, are becoming more and more influenced by the news media and social media presentation and dissemination of medical (health-related) information.
Lets’ start with the following summary of the impact of Angelina Effect on our lives.

What lessons can we learn from the Angelina Effect? 

First and most importantly, we should not accept the Angelina Effect as a prescription against disease. It does not eliminate risk or solve our situation, because:

Getting “preventative” surgery could give a person a false sense of security. This can keep an individual from making necessary, healthy changes in lifestyle, diet, and mental attitude.

The high cost of researching an individual’s genetic risk is prohibitive for those of us who aren’t celebrities, for example BRCA basic testing alone costs three to four thousand dollars.

A successful outcome, in Angelina’s case, of mastectomies followed by plastic surgeries does not represent standard medical care. Only a limited number of hospitals can safely offer that approach. Also, only a limited number of wealthy people can afford it.

The surgical approach and its consequences carry high risk. Evidently, Angelina’s situation justified that risk. However, your genetic situation and family history may be different, with the risks of surgery overriding the benefits.

Finally, let’s remember that Angelina is a fantastic, skilled actor, whose gift is to paint stories that inspire us. You and I make careful choices about the movies we view. Let us do the same here, focusing on the inspirational and loving parts of the story. We can aspire to these qualities in our own lives. Let’s leave out the parts which are not applicable to us. Resist the impulse to solve problems in panic mode. Return to the peace inside yourself, no matter how loud and scary the circumstances are.

This story will continue in the next blog

 

Spring is Nature’s process of renewal.  It prepares the way for the growth of Summer, the maturity of Fall and the rest and relaxation of winter.  Like all of Nature, our bodies must also go through a process of renewal, but unlike much of Nature, we humans need to thoughtfully assist in the process by initiating cleansing rituals to rid our systems of toxins naturally accumulated during Winter’s down time.

Detoxification, often referred to as simply, detox, is a process that intentionally pulls toxins from our systems. Without a proactive approach, poisons such as pesticides, hormonal disruptors, heavy metal, and the like are all quite willing to just sit comfortably, hidden within our bodies, hampering functions from simple digestion to impaired immune systems. A wide variety of useful detoxification methods are available.

I want to provide some essential guidelines for you to follow as you select the detoxification process you will utilize.  Following them should lead you to finding approaches that are practical, safe and effective.

  • For those who are new to detox, I recommend that the first time you should have it supervised by a nutritional specialist. That refers to a person who has been specifically trained in all aspects and philosophies of nutrition. This means someone with training beyond that of the conventional certified nutritionists who design hospital food!
  • You can not assume that all healthcare professionals are nutritional experts.  Make certain they have been specifically certified by a recognized institution.  This includes your “regular” doctor, who by his traditional course of study is typically not knowledgeable in nutritional science and detoxification programs.
  • Avoid the graduates of short-term nutritional training programs received from institutions bearing nontraditional names and are not accredited by the state educational authorities.  A beautiful ‘diploma’ is no substitute for a solid, scientifically based program.
  • In general, less able nutritional practitioners tend to be highly opinionated and critical of all approaches except their own (confirming their very narrow range of knowledge and training).  Be very cautious, and ask many questions when a program seems to be based in required products sold by the practitioner.
  • Remember, you are the ultimate expert on your body and your intuition generally indicates what is right (or not) for you. At least, never buy into a program that doesn’t make logical sense to you and coincides with what you know about yourself and your body.
  • Choose a slow destocks process over a rapid one, except in rare urgent medical situations such as heavy metal acute poisoning. Otherwise, fast detox, such as intravenous chelating, may result in loss of valuable minerals along with the toxins. The ultimate goal of detox is to bring body to balance and that is more likely to happen as a result of a slow process.
  • In your research for the formulation,  remedy to detox, always aim to give a priority to specific food to be used as the detox vehicle. It means that if you are advised to use a particular medicine or nutritional supplement for you detox, always explore whether specific kind of food may do the detoxing job.
  • Consider detoxing with whole and natural foods rather than processed food substances (processed food, which includes virtually anything from a box, can or jar). Use non GMO, preferably organic, raw food. Besides the traditional regimen of raw food (salad, smoothies, nuts), experiment with substituting raw ingredients in your favorite dishes. For example, I just found out how easy it is to prepare my favorite humus using raw chickpeas soaked over night. However I also learned by the trial and error of my humus preparation, that the beans have to be purchased from a reliable source such as Whole Foods, Mom’s Market, etc.
  • The detox is a form of self-healing and both are necessary ingredients for a healthy life style.  Eating right so detoxification sessions are unnecessary both simplifies and improves your life and health.
  • Just as a person needs physical detox, it is equally important to perform psychological detox – setting your mind on a positive path. That process often begins by recognizing the pattern of our thoughts and inspecting them according to the impact they have on your life and the lives you encounter. It is said that we continuously create our own reality through thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. Set out to deliberately create a positive, helpful, mutually satisfying life style.  When you help the others in your life to become happy, fulfilled individuals, your own life becomes immediately easier, happier, and more fulfilling.
  • The psychological detox attitude includes meditation, introspection, prayer or a strong connection with nature. They all may help access the mental patterns that are seated deep within our psyche. As an alternative, a meditative state may be created by the careful and appropriate use of hypnosis or self-hypnosis.

Wishing you Healthy and Happy Spring.

 

“A woman is the full circle. 
Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”

~ Diane Mariechild ~

Yet, in contrast to this inspiring thought, women more often than men are afflicted with serious diseases such as: type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine headaches and depression.

Medicine can’t explain these gender differences because the participation of women in clinical trials was historically limited. Pharmaceutical research also for decades excluded women from trials developing new medicines because of the variability in hormonal status and the ethical-legal risks related to reproductive potential. Therefore, many pharmaceuticals commonly used to treat women have not been adequately tested on women.

Women’s Medicine traditionally focused on the reproductive phase of a woman’s life, only recently extending its interest to the post-menopausal phase, which constitutes on average1/3 of a woman’s life span. For a long time, menopause was considered a disease that required treatment using either synthetic or animal hormones. That approach led to years of confusion and misinformation (still unresolved) regarding the benefits and risks of hormonal replacement therapy.

However, women (more often than men) bring balance to their healthcare by utilizing the resources of alternative, holistic medicine to complement mainstream medicine.

This holistic strategy reflects women’s talent of intuition and the creativity of right-brain thinking. It demonstrates women’s self-healing power, willingness to listen to their bodies’ symptoms, to balance the care for others with self-care, responsibility and self-forgiveness. This strategy allows for more effective, empowered management of and recovery from chronic disease. Also, from that perspective, the postmenopausal phase of life becomes a meaningful, productive and enjoyable experience.

But a challenge for many women is that it is easier to express love to others than to themselves, easier to forgive others than to forgive themselves. Also, the linear thinking used for multitasking, while juggling the interests of family and work, does not contribute to an intuitive, balanced approach. Women have to resort to a deeper, quieter type of thinking where wisdom and intuition reside.

Many modalities of Mind-Body Medicine including biofeedback, introspection, mindfulness, focused relaxation (hypnosis) contribute to such an approach. They support women in reconnecting with the self-healing wisdom of their bodies that promotes recovery from diseases and allows to experience the joy and harmony in receiving the gifts of life’s seasons.