Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fed’s Running Out of Tools to Boost Economic Growth: Cato’s O’Driscoll | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance

Fed’s Running Out of Tools to Boost Economic Growth: Cato’s O’Driscoll | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance:

The FOMC's decision to keep interest rates near zero until late 2014 -- at least -- signifies two things:

1. Credit will remain cheap for consumers and businesses.

2. The Fed may know something about the economy that U.S. markets and investors do not.

At least that's how Gerald O'Driscoll feels. The former vice president of the Dallas Federal Reserve and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute said in an interview with The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task that the Fed's circumspection makes him question his own views on the economy.

"I was shocked by the implied pessimism of the forecast in the Fed statement," he says. "I feel the economy is improving. We have to assume the Fed may know something that things are really worse than I thought in the global financial system in order to explain the pessimism underlying their forecast."

O'Driscoll's take on the economy is similar to that of most experts at the libertarian think-tank. Essentially, he believes raising marginal tax rates will curtail job growth in the country and most likely send more jobs overseas. President Barack Obama underscored his administration's goal to end the practice of shipping manufacturing jobs offshore in Tuesday night's State of the Union Address. Obama said he would eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and reward companies that return jobs to the U.S.

The economic climate has certainly improved over the past few months, but many headwinds (Europe, high gasoline prices, a reversal in the unemployment rate) could derail the fragile recovery. Both the White House and the Federal Reserve are laying out new proposals and policies to stimulate growth, but it still may not be enough to get the nation back to pre-financial crisis levels.

"The Fed is running out of tools," says O'Driscoll. "The Fed has done everything it can possibly do. I would put everything on the table."

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Stem Cells

Stem Cells have been discussed as a possible treatment for M.S.

Heart patient's stem cells harnessed for healingPosted: Jan 26, 2012

Some heart bypass patients are receiving cardiac stem cell transplants to try to repair damage.

When someone suffers a heart attack, part of the heart muscle dies and is replaced by a scar. In larger heart attacks, the patient can develop heart failure — a weakening of the heart that leaves the patient short of breath, said cardiac surgeon Dr. Terrence Yau of Toronto's University Health Network.

Yau and his colleagues at Toronto General's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal are involved in a clinical trial testing the safety, effectiveness and feasibility of injecting stem cells into the hearts of people having bypass surgery.

"This kind of therapy can improve the function and blood flow of hearts that have been injured by heart attacks most commonly and potentially by other means as well," said Yau.

In this patient's case, the stem cells were taken from the bone marrow in the hip and lower back in the operating suite. After four to six hours, the stem cells were isolated, the bypass grafts done and the stem cells injected back into the damaged areas of his heart.

Since 2010, eight patients have also had the experimental procedure in Montreal.

The Montreal and Toronto teams plan to combine their findings once each has results on 20 patients.

No one knows yet whether the stem cell treatment will improve survival or quality of life by healing the heart.

Investigators worldwide are testing whether giving the stem cells sooner after a heart attack makes a difference and experimenting with different procedures.

With files from CBC's Kelly Crowe

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Be In The Present Moment.

Cartoon of a busy computer workstation and a peaceful window view of bird on a tree.

“Many of us go through our lives without really being present in the moment,” says Dr. Margaret Chesney of the University of California, San Francisco. She’s studying how mindfulness affects health. “What is valuable about mindfulness is that it is accessible and can be helpful to so many people.”The concept of mindfulness is simple, but becoming a more mindful person requires commitment and practice.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for 1 second and then exhale through the mouth to a count of 5. Repeat often.

Enjoy a stroll. As you walk, notice your breath and the sights and sounds around you. As thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the present.

Practice mindful eating. Be aware of taste, textures and flavors in each bite, and listen to your body when you are hungry and full.

Find mindfulness resources in your local community, including yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs and books.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day's Quotes

The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. 

~ Dale Carnegie 

 8 Ways Philosophy Can Change Your Life:


Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man.  For just as there is no profit in medicine, if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel suffering of the mind.

Having understood how human lives are diseased, a philosopher worthy of his name - like a doctor worthy of that name - will proceed to try to cure them.  The whole point of medical research is cure.  So, too, the whole point of philosophy is human flouishing.
- Martha Nussbaum

In the immeasurable expanse of  time, you see how life moves onward and upward from infusoria to man, and you cannot deny that infinite possibilities for further perfection still await humankind.
- Thomas Mann

Life is filled with truly unfathomable potential... In most cases, our so-called limitations are nothing more than our own decision to limit ourselves.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men.
- John Dewey

All phenomena of existence have mind as their precursor, mind as thier supreme leader, and of mind are they made.  If with a pure mind one speaks or acts, happiness follows him like shadow that leaves him.
- Gautama Buddha

Be not afraid of life.  Believe that lifeis worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
-William James


Fish oil plus exercise may do older muscles good | Reuters

Fish oil plus exercise may do older muscles good | Reuters:

A female bodybuilder competes during the Hong Kong Bodybuilding Championships in Hong Kong June 14, 2009.   REUTERS/Aaron Tam

Older women may be able to boost their muscle strength by adding fish oil supplements to their exercise routine, a small clinical trial suggests.

Researchers found that three months of strength training helped increase muscle strength among 45 healthy women in their 60s. But those who used fish oil at the same time had somewhat greater gains.

Whether older women should run out to buy fish oil for the sake of their muscles remains to be seen.

It's not clear whether the extra strength gain would be meaningful in a woman's life -- and, therefore, worth the cost and potential side effects of fish oil pills.

The findings are "intriguing" and deserve further study, said Catherine Jackson, a professor of kinesiology at California State University in Fresno who was not involved in the study.

But, she told Reuters Health in an email, "I would be a bit cautious about over-interpretation."

The researchers themselves echoed that thought. The findings "should be viewed with caution," according to Luiz Claudio Fernandes and colleagues at Parana Federal University in Brazil.

"Other studies involving a larger sample and other combinations of training and supplementation period are required," they write in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is probably best known for its link to heart health. Fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides (a type of blood fat), and people who get more omega-3 have been found to have a lower risk of heart disease.

But there's also evidence that fish oil can improve nerve function and the ability of heart muscle to contract. So it's "reasonable to hypothesize" that fish oil could boost muscles' response to strengthening exercises, according to Fernandes' team.

To study the question, the researchers randomly assigned 45 older women to one of three exercise groups: In one, the women performed strengthening exercise three times a week for three months; the other two groups followed the same regimen, but also took fish oil -- 2 grams per day, either starting on the same day as their exercise program, or starting two months beforehand.

On average, all three groups increased their muscle strength, which was measured in tests where the women contracted their leg muscles. But the change was greater in the two fish-oil groups.

On top of that, only women who used fish oil showed changes in nerve activity in the muscles.

Exactly what that all means for women's well-being is not clear.

One issue, Jackson said, is that "strength measurement is difficult at best and shows huge differences among subjects."

The study participants did take four "functional" tests that gauged strength, balance, agility and how far they could walk in 6 minutes. And women using fish oil did slightly better on one of those tests -- where they had to sit down and rise up from a chair several times in a row, as fast as they could.

Whether any of that could translate into better fitness, a lower risk of falls or other health benefits is unknown for now.

A question with any supplement study, Jackson noted, is whether users were "deficient" in a nutrient -- omega-3 fats, in this case -- to begin with. If so, the supplement might have brought them to a more "normal" level, and the benefit of a supplement beyond a healthful, balanced diet would be unclear.

In the U.S., a monthly supply of one-gram fish oil capsules can run well over $15.

And while fish oil is generally considered safe at recommended doses, it can have side effects; the more common side effects include bad breath, heartburn, nausea and loose stools.

At higher doses -- more than 3 grams per day -- fish oil might interfere with blood clotting and raise the risk of internal bleeding, according to the National Institutes of Health.

People using medications -- as most older adults are -- should also check with their doctor about possible interactions. Fish oil can, for example, boost the effects of blood pressure drugs, which could send your blood pressure too low.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 4, 2012.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Meditation Practice is a good habit to acquire.

When you walk, walk,
and when you run, run.
By all means, don't wobble!
Zen Poem

Meditation opens the mind of man to the greatest mystery that takes place daily and hourly; it widens the heart so that it may feel the eternity of time and infinity of space in every throb; it gives us a life within the world as if we were moving about in paradise; and all these spiritual deeds take place without any refuge into a doctrine, but by the simple and direct holding fast to the truth which dwells in our innermost beings.
- Shunryu Suzuki

Choices in a meditator's life are very simple:
Do those things that contribute to your awareness
and refrain from those things that do not.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

WHO | WHO's pain ladder

WHO | WHO's pain ladder:

WHO's pain ladder

WHO has developed a three-step "ladder" for cancer pain relief.

If pain occurs, there should be prompt oral administration of drugs in the following order: nonopioids (aspirin and paracetamol); then, as necessary, mild opioids (codeine); then strong opioids such as morphine, until the patient is free of pain. To calm fears and anxiety, additional drugs – “adjuvants” – should be used. To maintain freedom from pain, drugs should be given “by the clock”, that is every 3-6 hours, rather than “on demand” This three-step approach of administering the right drug in the right dose at the right time is inexpensive and 80-90% effective. Surgical intervention on appropriate nerves may provide further pain relief if drugs are not wholly effective.

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