Both my parents experienced the sudden change in life’s priorities associated with the diagnosis of inoperable cancer. Suddenly, things that have occupied our mind, time and energy are reappraised in light of a stark reminder of life’s uncertainty and our mortality. Hope is kept alive by modern medicine’s remarkable results with conventional treatments and the fact that some individuals do much better than expected, even with serious and advanced cancer.
Most people say the gift of sight is their most valuable sense perception – and almost everyone experiences decline in visual function with aging. B One of the most common symptoms of aging is the decline in accommodation, the process by which the eye changes (accommodates) focus to maintain a clear image of objects at different distances. This decline often begins before age 50 years. Accommodation acts like an automatic reflex, but it can also be consciously controlled.
The holiday season is filled with emotion for most people. While this emotion is often happy, positive and loving, for many people it can be very unhappy and even depressing. Holiday music can trigger emotional associations with the absence of a loved one or unhappy memories from the past. The gap between the smiling faces of holiday ads and one’s unhappy emotional experience can actually lead to a deepening of the emotional darkness that often accompanies this season of lights.
Being disconnected from or being self-
Anger can be a healthy emotional response or a serious health risk. Managing anger appropriately does not require that we deny it, repress it or get completely rid of it. Brief, mild-
The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) is the world’s premier nutrition education resource. Harvard Medical School and the Department of Nutrition at HSPH developed the Healthy Eating Plate to provide the general public with up-
Surely one of the best things about modern science is the discovery that chocolate can actually be good medicine! Chocolate As Preventive Medicine? Cocoa contains phytonutrients (plant chemicals) called flavanols that may help protect you against coronary heart disease (heart attacks). Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains two to three times the amount of these beneficial plant chemicals. A possible mechanism by which flavanols protect the heart may be enhancing.....
Yoga can be fun and healthy for you and your kids – physically, mentally and emotionally.What is yoga? The word “yoga” means to yoke, unite, connect or join together. Yoga helps connect the body, mind, heart and emotions. It can also help connect you to other people, animals, trees and all of nature. We tend to think of physical movements and body postures when we think of yoga. Yoga looks like exercise, but its intent is very different. Physical hatha yoga is traditionally performed as a means of .....
Where is your attention when you eat? Do you love the pleasure of eating so much that you overeat from sheer enjoyment rather than from physiologic hunger cues? Do you overeat as a self-
For many people, there is a relationship between stress and oral health. The presence of oral disease and dental disorders can cause stress from low self-
In addition to cold weather, winter sometimes brings sadness and depression. Some people experience depression only during the winter. Others with year-
The three primary domains of your overall fitness are physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-
A cancer survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. Modern medical, radiation and surgical treatments have led to a growing population of cancer survivors, who now number over 12 million, or one in 25 Americans. Lifestyle choices such as health-
Is it necessary, or even safe, to take an antibiotic for your next illness? This question is becoming a routine part of conversations between consumers and health providers. The way we answer this question has serious implications. Consumers and health care providers are both being urged to help achieve the goals of good medicine and public health: making a correct diagnosis, using antibiotics only if the diagnosis war-
I will never forget my patient who developed Type 1, insulin-
What to Eat? The world’s leading nutrition researchers are sending a very clear public health message based on the best scientific evidence available: To promote health, prevent disease and extend life, half your food servings should come from fruits and vegetables. For more than 70 years, the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has conducted rigorous scientific research on the relationship between food and health.
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For many people, there is a relationship between stress and oral health.
The presence of oral disease and dental disorders can cause stress from low self-
Emotional disorders and stress at home or work can lead to the excess production of dental plaque, which in turn can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, leading to gingivitis and bleeding gums. A highly emotional response to financial hardship, in particular, has been shown to increase gum disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and Kentucky ranks first or second nationally in tooth loss. A healthy diet, regular brushing, flossing, anti-
Stress can increase the frequency of canker sores. Also known as aphthous ulcers, these painful lesions occur inside the
mouth and are not contagious. Students often have more canker sores during the school year than during holidays and summer vacation. Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are contagious, painful blisters around the lips, nose or chin caused by the herpes virus. Stress is a common trigger for these blisters. Though canker sores and cold sores resolve with or without medication, their resolution and their prevention can be helped by healthy approaches to stress management.
Stress, worry, anxiety and anger can also lead to bruxism, the clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep or while awake. This grinding of the teeth can eventually lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ problems can cause popping or clicking of the jaw when opening the mouth or chewing. It can also cause facial pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck, shoulders and around the ear when chewing, speaking or opening the mouth. A custom-
There are many ways to help prevent stress from having an adverse impact on your dental health. You can probably find something on this list that fits your lifestyle and personal preferences. To help you manage stress:
• Try to reduce your exposure to the circumstances, patterns of thinking, habits, people or other sources of your stress.
• Seek financial, emotional or pastoral counseling to help you deal rationally, thoughtfully and methodically with your stress rather than self-
• To reduce mental and emotional stress, connect more with your body through your preferred physical activity – walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, dancing or sports.
• Practice daily skilled relaxation, meditation or prayer.
• Spend some time each evening reading inspirational material that uplifts your spirits.
• Keep a daily gratitude journal (count your blessings).
• Get a massage.
• Hug a loved one.
• Play with children and animals.
• Spend unhurried time in nature.
• Do something for others who are less fortunate. Generosity is good for both the giver and the receiver.
• Participate in social and community activities that reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
There are several resources that offer self-
Sources and Resources
• Dr. James Gordon, founder of the Center for Mind Body Medicine guides a ‘soft belly meditation’
• Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘single pointed meditation’ led by Peg Baim of the Benson-
Dr. John Patterson is past president of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and is board certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He is on the family practice faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Saybrook University’s School of Mind Body Medicine (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, D.C.). He operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative medicine consultations