Lara Evans Bracciante

Meditation Eases Kids’ Stress

News Note

Kids who meditate are happier, have higher self-esteem, get along better with other students and cope with stress more effectively than students who don’t meditate, suggests Rita Benn, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Michigan. Aged 10 to 14, the Detroit students of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse practice non-religious transcendental meditation (TM) for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon to reduce stress — a growing concern for parents and child psychologists who note that kids are dealing with more pressure than ever.

Battling Bad Breath

News Note

Natural chemicals found in black tea, called polyphenols, help fight the bacteria that cause bad breath, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused by volatile sulphur compounds produced by bacteria that thrive in oxygen-lacking environments, such as the back of the tongue and deep gum pockets. In the laboratory, polyphenols not only inhibited the growth of oral bacteria, they also suppressed by 30 percent the enzyme that catalyzes hydrogen sulfide, a halitosis culprit.

A Healthier Junk Food?

News Note

McDonald’s announced in June that by the end of 2004 the fast-food chain will be serving antibiotic-free beef and chicken, calling on its suppliers to change their agricultural protocol to a more natural process. The declaration comes in response to the growing alarm over the effect of routine antibiotic use in animal production, a practice that undermines the effectiveness of antibiotics in people and has been banned in Europe.

Stretching Facilitates Well-Being

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Yoga may ease nausea and anxiety in breast cancer patients undergoing treatment, according to a recent study conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. Subjects included 126 women with an average age of 53, and most with stage I or stage II breast cancer. One group was assigned to 12 weeks of classes, three times a week, and daily home practice, while the control group was put on a yoga class wait list.

Hook, Line and Sinker

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It’s a complicated issue: Fish is rich in nutrients essential to cardiovascular health, prompting the American Heart Association to recommend at least two servings of fish a week. Yet, one-fifth of the world’s stock is over-fished or depleted, with half nearing that mark.

Kids CAM, Too

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One-third of 191 parents studied report using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at least once a year for their children, say authors of a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Additionally, almost half have used CAM at some point. Therapies included massage, vitamins, herbs, meditation, chiropractic, homeopathy, prayer and spiritual healing, biofeedback, acupuncture, hypnosis and nutritional supplements.

Meditation Makes (Brain) Waves

News Note

Turns out, those monks really are on to something. Meditation has a biological effect on the body, easing anxiety and boosting immunity, according to a recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Using a technique called “mindfulness” meditation, researchers at the University of Wisconsin enrolled 41 subjects, 21 of whom attended a weekly meditation class and one seven-hour meditation retreat during the study; the remaining 20 served as the control group and did not participate in any meditation. All subjects were given a flu shot at the start of the study to measure immune response.

Water Works

News Note

Besides decreasing headaches, heartburn, constipation, fatigue and kidney stones, getting your fair share of water each day may help prevent serious illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma. One study at the University of Loma Linda, California, showed that people who drink five or more glasses of water every day cut their risk of suffering a fatal heart attack in half. Researchers believe because water, unlike other beverages, is absorbed immediately into the blood stream, it thins the blood and reduces clot risk.

Reiki Feels the Love

News Note

Several pages were devoted to an overview and case study of reiki in the March/April 2003 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Pamela Miles and Gala True, Ph.D., recorded the extensive origins, evolution and research behind this modality, noting that reiki has now been incorporated into more than 20 mainstream hospitals and community-based programs across the country.

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