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Does Yawning Cool the Brain?
February 2012

It Doesn't Just Mean You're Bored

yawnWhen we feel the urge to yawn in cooler weather, we should succumb—it might do us good. New research suggests that beyond signaling fatigue or boredom, yawning might be a physical reaction to cool an “overheated” brain.

A study at Princeton University is the first to show that the frequency of yawning varies with the season and that people are less likely to yawn when the heat outdoors exceeds body temperature. The research monitored 160 people, 80 per season, during winter and summer in Tucson, Arizona. According to the researchers’ theory, it is possible that yawning in cooler temperatures works to cool the brain, while yawning in warmer conditions appears to provide no similar relief.

Research associate Andrew Gallup remarks, “The applications of this research are intriguing… for better understanding diseases and conditions such as multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, which are accompanied by frequent yawning and thermoregulatory dysfunction.” Excessive yawning may prove a helpful diagnostic tool.

 
How to Be a Good Patient
January 2012
TERRI EVANS

good_patientBeing a good patient is essential to any successful treatment, especially holistic treatment. Often, people seeking alternative care arrive at a practitioner’s or therapist’s office fed up with conventional treatment and confused by the lack of permanent healing, yet newly expectant of receiving quick answers and recovery. It helps if the individual understands how the two approaches differ and can even complement one another.

With conventional medical care, doctors focus on identifying the disease that is creating the symptoms affecting the patient. The goal is to halt the progression of the disease and/or sustain life.

Alternative practitioners’ goal is a patient’s overall wellness and improved quality of life. They focus on uncovering and alleviating any imbalances that are robbing the individual of their quality of life. A holistic practitioner and patient are a team with a mutual mission. This means they can expect to spend time together completing and evaluating detailed medical histories and lifestyle information sheets, consulting and sharing observations, collaborating in carrying out treatment and cooperating in initial and follow-up examinations. The personal patient/client relationship is generally more intensive than experienced with conventional services.

 
Mailbox Makeover
January 2012

Banish Unwanted Catalogs

MailBoxThe holidays have come and gone and a new year is here, heralded by a mailbox still engorged with resource-wasting, old and new catalog clutter. Altogether, some 20 billion catalogs are mailed annually, to the frustration of Earth-conscious shoppers. According to the nonprofit ForestEthics, the average American will spend the equivalent of eight months of their life dealing with junk mail. We all can save valuable time, conserve America’s forests, ease up on overflowing landfills, and reduce fuel and other materials wasted on unwanted catalogs by following these simple tips.

1. Ditch duplicate mailings. If you receive multiples of a catalog you like, call and ask the company to remove the extra listing.

2. Delete your address. The Direct Marketing Association (dmaChoice.org) will add your name to a “delete” list for direct marketers through its Mail Preference Service. It’s free online, or $1 by mail.

3. Sign up with a service. Options available for a modest fee include CatalogChoice.org,StopTheJunkMail.com and 41Pounds.org.

4. Switch to email. Most retailers can email promotion and sale notifications, with links to their websites and digital catalogs.

5. Recycle catalogs after browsing. If the local recycling program doesn’t accept them, searchEarth911.org by Zip code to find the nearest facility that does.

 
Faux Food
January 2012

Demand Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods

Faux_FoodThe United States is a rarity among developed countries in that it does not require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and 15 nations in the European Union require notice of GE content. A poll by ABC News shows that 93 percent of Americans want the federal government to require mandatory labeling of these foods.

The nonprofit Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding that the agency require the labeling of GE foods, on behalf of the Just Label It campaign (JustLabelIt.org), a coalition of 350 companies, organizations, scientists, doctors and individuals dedicated to food safety and consumer rights.

In 1992, the FDA issued a policy statement that GE foods were not “materially” different than traditional foods, and so did not need to be labeled. Agency policy severely constricts differences only to alterations that can be tasted, smelled or otherwise detected through the five senses.

CFS Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell states, “Current FDA policy uses 19th-century rationale for a 21stcentury issue, leaving consumers in the dark as to hidden changes to their food. It is long overdue that the FDA acknowledges the myriad reasons genetically engineered foods should be labeled and label these novel foods once and for all.” Critics claim that GE foods are linked to both personal health and environmental risks.


Tell the FDA to label GE foods and more at CenterForFoodSafety.org and TrueFoodNow.org.

 
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