Category : Health & Medicine

(NYT) Branding Ritual Scarred Women in Secret Circle

Last March, five women gathered in a home near here to enter a secret sisterhood they were told was created to empower women.

To gain admission, they were required to give their recruiter — or “master,” as she was called — naked photographs or other compromising material and were warned that such “collateral” might be publicly released if the group’s existence were disclosed.

The women, in their 30s and 40s, belonged to a self-help organization called Nxivm, which is based in Albany and has chapters across the country, Canada and Mexico.

Sarah Edmondson, one of the participants, said she had been told she would get a small tattoo as part of the initiation. But she was not prepared for what came next.

Read it all (and please note the headline above is from the NYT print edition).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Women

(NYT Op-ed) Clay Routledge–Why Are Millennials Wary of Freedom?

Young Americans seem to be losing faith in freedom. Why?

According to the World Values Survey, only about 30 percent of Americans born after 1980 believe it is absolutely essential to live in a democratic country, compared with 72 percent of Americans born before World War II. In 1995, 16 percent of Americans in their late teens and early adulthood thought democracy was a bad idea; in 2011, the number increased to 24 percent.

Young Americans also are disproportionately skeptical of free speech. A 2015 poll from the Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 34) believe the government should be able to regulate certain types of offensive speech. Only 27 percent of Gen-Xers (ages 35 to 50), 20 percent of baby boomers (ages 51 to 69) and 12 percent of the silent generation (ages 70 to 87) share that opinion.

For many conservative commentators, especially those concerned with attitudes on college campuses, this is merely more evidence of the deleterious influence of the radical left in academia. But while ideology certainly plays a role here, these trends transcend political party affiliation, as a number of recent polls indicate.

2016 Gallup survey found that a majority of both Democratic and Republican students believe colleges should be allowed to restrict speech that is purposely offensive to certain groups. A survey of students’ attitudesconcerning free speech released on Wednesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that 66 percent of Democratic and 47 percent of Republican students believe there are times a college should withdraw a campus speaker’s invitation after it has been announced. And a survey published by the Brookings Institution in September found that 20 percent of Democratic and 22 percent of Republican students agreed it was acceptable for student groups to use violence to prevent a person from speaking.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Psychology, Young Adults

A Picture is Worth 1000 words–The baby Boombers are Reaching Retirement

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Budget, Children, Economy, Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Medicaid, Medicare, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Social Security, Taxes, Young Adults

(NYT) Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But unlike depression, with which it routinely occurs, anxiety is often seen as a less serious problem.

“Anxiety is easy to dismiss or overlook, partially because everyone has it to some degree,” explained Philip Kendall, director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University in Philadelphia. It has an evolutionary purpose, after all; it helps us detect and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Highly anxious people, though, have an overactive fight-or-flight response that perceives threats where there often are none.

But sometimes there are good reasons to feel anxious. For many young people, particularly those raised in abusive families or who live in neighborhoods besieged by poverty or violence, anxiety is a rational reaction to unstable, dangerous circumstances. At the Youth Anxiety Center’s clinic in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which serves mostly poor and working-class Hispanic youth, teenagers would object to the definition of anxiety I heard often at Mountain Valley: “The overestimation of danger and the underestimation of our ability to cope.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Teens / Youth

(Local Paper) More South Carolinians are going to emergency rooms with STDs. Doctors say that’s not ideal.

[Dr’ John] Walters said he can rarely treat STIs effectively in an emergency setting. Lab tests require days to confirm the diagnosis, so he is often left with no option but to treat without a positive test or send the patient home empty-handed.

Pearson and his colleagues at the CDC found there was a 2 percent increase between 2008 and 2013 in the total number of emergency visits, and a 39 percent increase, specifically, in STI-related visits. They found patients receiving STI care in emergency departments were typically not white and usually were covered by public insurance programs, like Medicaid. They included in their research cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and “unspecified venereal disease,” the most common STIs.

South Carolina hasn’t escaped the national trend. Between 2010 and 2014, there was nearly a 30 percent increase in the number of people showing up to South Carolina emergency departments with STIs, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Although syphilis was not included in the CDC study because it is less common, that particular sexually transmitted disease has also long been on the rise in South Carolina.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Sexuality

(NYT) As Overdose Deaths Pile Up, a New Hampshire Medical Examiner Quits the Morgue

In the state morgue here, in the industrial maze of a hospital basement, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew was slicing through the lung of a 36-year-old woman when white foam seeped out onto the autopsy table.

Foam in the lungs is a sign of acute intoxication caused by an opioid. So is a swollen brain, which she also had. But Dr. Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, would not be certain of the cause of death until he could rule out other causes, like a brain aneurysm or foul play, and until after the woman’s blood tests had come back.

With the nation snared in what the government says is the worst drug epidemic in its history, routine autopsies like this one, which take more than two hours, are overtaxing medical examiners everywhere.

“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Methodist

(CMA Journal) Louisa Blair: Dr. Wilfred Grenfell and the forgotten people of Newfoundland and Labrador

He began living his new life by teaching Sunday school, but was relieved of his duties when he was discovered teaching the children how to box….

Read it all from 1991.

Posted in Canada, Church History, Health & Medicine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Wilfred Grenfell

Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him: Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Canada, Church History, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) Justin Barrett–Does Your Pastor Need a Friend? A study reveals why relational ministry can leave our inner circle empty

My pastor recently asked me, “Why is it so hard for people to see pastors as friends and not just pastors?” In one respect, the question caught me by surprise. He is part of a large pastoral staff of a big and vibrant church with a reputation for being highly relational. How can someone whose life revolves around forming caring relationships have a lack of friendship?

It turns out my pastor is far from alone. In a recent study, my team discovered that most relational-style pastors and missionaries average fewer personal relationships than the typical adult, and an alarming number have too few close confidants to support them in their life and calling.

Though it may be tempting to simply encourage ministers to seek more relationships, many ministers are faced with a trade-off between quality and quantity. Those with a large number of very intimate relationships have a smaller overall social network, and those who form lots of relationships have impoverished inner circles. Failing to get the right balance corresponds with burnout and ministry ineffectiveness.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The Arda) David Briggs–How perceptions of God help determine self-esteem, mental health

How would you feel if a loving God took a personal interest in you?

Pretty darn good, according to a growing body of research revealing the mental health benefits of having a close personal relationship with a caring divinity.

In one of the latest national studies, the more participants reported feeling God’s love, presence and guidance, the more likely they were to agree they are a person of worth.

Frequency of prayer, or even being “born again,” were not of themselves significantly related to higher self-esteem.

But worship attendance, prayer and the specific act of committing their lives to Christ all were related to higher self-esteem when individuals reported a close relationship with a divine being who cared about them.

Having what some sociologists have called “the ultimate friend” on their side appears to make a big difference when it comes to self-respect and self-worth, study authors indicated.

 

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(NBC) Parents of Toddler Killed in Disney Resort Alligator Attack Launch Foundation to Help Families with Children in Critical Medical Need

The parents of Lane Graves announced that the foundation, named in honor of their son, would help other parents pay expenses like electrical bills or the mortgage, while their children endure organ transplants.

Watch it all.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing

(Reuters) New STD cases in U.S. set record high in 2016: CDC report

New U.S. cases of three common sexually transmitted diseases – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – reached more than 2 million in 2016, a new record, U.S. health officials said, prompting calls for more effective prevention efforts.

Most of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, which comprised 1.6 million cases. But there were also nearly a half million (470,000) new gonorrhea cases and nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, according to an annual report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

All three sexually transmitted diseases can be cured with antibiotics, but if left undiagnosed, they can cause serious health problems, including infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased risk for HIV transmission.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Sexuality

([London] Times) Melanie Phillips–Our Thinking is warped on Cannabis Legalisation

At the Labour Party conference yesterday the comedian Russell Brand called for drugs to be decriminalised. At next week’s Conservative conference, the free-market Adam Smith Institute will be pushing for the legalisation of cannabis. Legalisation means more users. That means more harm, not just to individuals but to society. The institute, however, describes cannabis as “a low-harm consumer product that most users enjoy without major problems”. What? A huge amount of evidence shows that far from cannabis being less harmful than other illicit drugs, as befits its Class B classification, its effects are far more devastating. Long-term potheads display on average an eight-point decline in IQ over time, an elevated risk of psychosis and permanent brain damage.

Cannabis is associated with a host of biological ill-effects including cirrhosis of the liver, strokes and heart attacks. People who use it are more likely than non-users to access other illegal drugs. And so on.

Ah, say the autonomy-loving free-marketeers, but it doesn’t harm anyone other than the user. Well, that’s not true either. It can destroy relationships with family, friends and employers. Users often display more antisocial behaviour, such as stealing money or lying to get a job, as well as a greater association with aggression, paranoia and violent death. According to Stuart Reece, an Australian professor of medicine, cannabis use in pregnancy has also been linked to an epidemic of gastroschisis, in which babies are born with intestines outside their abdomen, in at least 15 nations including the UK.

The legalisers’ argument is that keeping cannabis illegal does not control the harm it does. Yet wherever its supply has been liberalised, its use and therefore the harm it does have both gone up.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(Church Times) ‘Purpose-filled’ clergy score highly on well-being according to the Experiences of Ministry research project

Despite demanding work that often starts before sunrise and does not finish until late in the evening, clergy report higher levels of well-being than people in other occupations, because they are “filled with purpose”, a seven-year study suggests.

Started in 2011, the Experiences of Ministry Project has explored the views of 6000 Church of England clergy through regular national surveys, in addition to more than 100 in-depth interviews, and a series of week-long daily diaries. It was led by Dr Mike Clinton, a reader in work psychology at King’s College, London, and supported by the Ministry Division.

A summary, Effective Ministerial Presence and What It Looks Like in Practice, was presented at King’s last week. Its conclusions bear out the findings of the Living Ministry study published last week (News, 15 September).

“The well-being of clergy in our research compared favourably with other occupational groups,” the report says. “Despite having highly demanding roles, most priests cope, and even flourish, because they are filled with purpose, and derive meaning and fulfilment from their work. Even though they make substantial and frequent sacrifices as part of their role, they mainly do so willingly and see them as worthwhile.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Local Paper) South Carolina insurance director confirms http://HealthCare.gov prices will increase 31% next year

As Congress once again turns its focus toward health care reform, the S.C. Department of Insurance posted some sobering news about 2018 health insurance prices.

The agency confirmed on its website Thursday that average premiums for HealthCare.gov polices will skyrocket 31 percent in South Carolina next year, confirming information the federal government published on the future of health insurance costs earlier this summer.

Some customers will face higher increases than others. A 60-year-old patient in Charleston County who doesn’t use tobacco and wants to buy a “silver” plan next year will pay about 28 percent more. His monthly premium will increase from about $837 a month this year to $1,068 a month next year.

Read it all.

Posted in --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance & Investing