google-apple-logoMedicine has struggled to keep up with the amount of Alzheimer’s disease in this country and around the world. There is still no cure and very little medicine to reduce symptoms. Even more shocking is that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth largest killer in the United States. Fortunately, tech companies like Apple and Google have been working to create products and services that will keep patients with Alzheimer’s more comfortable and safe.

Google has been working with Google Glass so that it is useful for those affected by Alzheimer’s. The device will use facial recognition software to tell the patient who is in front of them by alerting them to their name and their relationship. Additionally the Glass device can give the patients reminders like when to take their medicine or when they have to go to the doctor. Glass, along with wearable devices can track Alzheimer’s patients and their movements throughout the house and beyond. If a patient wanders away, as is known to happen with over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, the wearable devices will indicate where they are.

In addition to health concerns and knowing who people are, tech experts have been working on therapeutic games. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is working with game developer Akili Interactive Labs to create and test a game called Project EVO for Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The point of the game is to keep up memory through therapeutic activities and it also tracks the development of the Alzheimer’s patients disease symptoms and how rapidly they changing. Pfizer is currently working on a clinical trial that will test 100 people both with and without brain plaque, one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s. They are looking to see whether Project EVO can be a biomarker for the disease. All of these companies are working to help those who are affected and offering solutions in the meantime while medical experts continue to search for the cause and cure for the disease.

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resnick_instituteThe most imminent threat facing us today is climate change and Caltech is looking to do something about it. The Caltech Resnick sustainability Institute is raising money to help support scientists and their research in renewable energy. So far, Caltech has received $15 million in gifts for the researchers to deal with the realities of climate change.

The Caltech organization has its home in Pasadena, California campus of the California Institute of Technology. They are publically announcing their contributors to drum up support. Lynda and Stewart Resnick gifted the latest donation to the cause. The fund was started by a donation from the co-owners of Roll Global that own POM Wonderful and Wonderful Pistachios. In 2009 they donated $21 million and that helped to kick start the institute as a whole.

The scientists are using the funds to explore many options for sustainable technologies and sources of energy. So far they have examined wind energy, fuel cells and batteries, smart grid systems, solar photovoltaics, and biofuels, among others. The executive director of Resnick, Neil Fromer says of the work, “we style ourselves as a studio for sustainability. Our goal is to capitalize on the unique culture at Caltech of interdisciplinary collaboration and playful scientific exploration to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world, in terms of how do we use energy and natural resources in ways that can sustain our future?” The fossil fuels that we are currently using to get energy are filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses. Scientists have noted that we have already crossed a dangerous threshold so we must come up with other ways of harnessing energy for our purpose so we stop harming the planet to ease the consequences. Currently, the use of fossil fuels is causing the loss of species, rising sea levels, severe weather, and international conflict. The work that Caltech is investing in may be the only option to help stop this process and start the world on a healthier path for

sustainability.

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Transcendental-Meditation-BenefitIn the United States, we understand what it is like to have veteran return home from the Iraq and Afghanistan with post-war trauma like PTSD. The continent of Africa has also been plagued with wars as over the past 20 years, 18 African countries have been engaged in war. This means that war trauma has affected not only soldiers, but citizens and it is estimated that as many as 100 million Africans have been victims of war and the violence and sexual abuse it brings and therefore suffer from post-traumatic stress. Therefore, PTSD is an epidemic on the continent and has caused many Africans from living the most productive and healthy lives they can. If PTSD is not treated it can lead to violent or self-destructive behavior, depression, alcoholism, anxiety, unemployment, and suicide. In the United States these symptoms are often deal with using physician prescribed drugs and therapy. These options are not available to many Africans because of the shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists in the area.

An option for those in African countries affected by PTSD may be transcendental meditation. The technique has been through many peer-reviewed studies and they all show great benefits to those suffering from post-war trauma. TM is an evidenced-based solution and has frequently outperformed other healing techniques by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, among other PTSD symptoms. TM has already been used effectively in the Congo, demonstrating that it is effective in the African region. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Brian Rees, M.D., M.P.H. was the primary author for the Congo study and notes that TM, “provides the mind and body with a unique state of ‘restful alertness’ that reduces deeply-rooted stress and improves brain function.” Without access to psychologists and psychiatrists, Transcendental Meditation is a proved effective way to help treat those ravaged by war throughout Africa and around the world.

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Transcendental Meditation is on the rise. Some high powered executives use it to focus at work and practicing the meditation for just twenty minutes a day, twice daily has helped people lose weight, thrive at work, and lessen their risk of heart disease. There are many positive health benefits to practicing transcendental meditation and more and more are discovered. Big names are talking about the benefits of practice like Oprah, Heather Graham, Russell Brand, Dr. Oz, and the American Heart Association.

To practice transcendental meditation you sit quietly twice a day for twenty minutes while silently repeating a mantra. There have been over 350 studies to confirm that this will have a positive impact on your life.

One proven positive benefit is that this type of meditation can amp up your workout. You will find you have more energy, increased focus, and a better night’s sleep each night. It also will give you a higher threshold for discomfort and pain, which may allow you to push through at the end of a hard workout.

Transcendental-meditation-for-heart-healthThis type of meditation can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It will also lower your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the journal, Circulation.

Transcendental Meditation can also help you to lose weight by decreasing stress. The less stress you have in your life the less cortisol your body will produce, resulting in less stress eating. The meditation also helps to suppress food cravings because you will be in a more balanced mental and physical state. You will know how to listen to your body more acutely and can recognize the difference between hunger and anxiousness.

A study concluded that TM can help improve relationship because after meditation you have a higher appreciation of others. A certified TM teacher in New York City, Rachel Katz says that, “by strengthening synaptic connections in the brain, TM helps us to gain patience, be a better listener, and see more value in others and our relationships.”

These are just a few of the many positive benefits of transcendental meditation. If you want to give it a go, visit TM.org to find a certified teacher to get you started. After you are trained you can practice on your own and use this technique to help you in your daily life.

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_73808613_stellar_tsang.img_3160x624In 2005, Monique Pool lost her dog, named Sciolo. She called the Suriname Animal Protection Society to see if they had any luck finding her beloved pet. They didn’t know where Sciolo was, but they told Pool about Loesje (also called Lucia) a baby sloth that they weren’t sure what to do with. Pool took in the animal and immediately fell in love. She says of sloths, “they’re very special animals to look at…they always have smile on their face and seem so tranquil and peaceful.”

Despite their long claws, sloths are very gentle. However, this doesn’t make them an easy pet to have and maintain. They have a very challenging diet. Pool went to Judy Arroyo for advice on how to feed Lucia. Arroyo runs a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. She recommended that she give the baby sloth goat’s milk, as they cannot process cow’s milk. However, in Suriname, where Pool resides there was not an abundance of goat’s milk, so she had it shipped in from the United States. Unfortunately, Lucia died after two years, but Pool learned from the experience and she created a great network of people to continue rescuing sloths.

People from all over Suriname came to her with sloths because she was the only one in the country who had the expertise. Police departments, zoos, and the Animal Protection Society relied on her to take care of, rehabilitate, and re-release sloths back into the wild. Then Pool was flooded with a large request when some forest was cleared and 14 sloths were displaced. They were challenging to take care of because of different sleeping schedules and finding a place for all of them to reside in her home and cages in the back yard. Then, as the clearing continued they realized that there were more than 14 sloths that needed homes, but actually 200. Pool relied on many friends and volunteers and powered goats milk to feed the babies. Every sloth that Pool rescued from the clearing was reintroduced into the wild. Pool lost her pup, but it opened her up to a world of sloths and she has become their guardian angel.

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Untitled-3Transcendental Meditation has great benefits for people in high powered, high stress positions, but it has also been found to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After Michael Ortiz retired from a long career as a State Trooper and an undercover DEA agent he wasn’t the same. He was experiencing paranoia, extreme flashbacks, was hypersensitive to stress, and had trouble sleeping. He was a classic case of PTSD. His highly stressful job left him in a sorry state after he retired. Ortiz case is not unique. Over 836,000 male and female police officers in the United States are negatively affected by the traumatic experiences of their work environments.

However, there may be a solution to help police officers in this country deal with their stress and their disorder. Transcendental Meditation TM programs are beginning to be implemented specifically for police officers to help them overcome their stress-related health problems. TM can help relieve the symptoms of PTSD, Ortiz and his wife Deborah attest to the effectiveness of the meditation program. Over six million people of all ages, religion, and nationalities have learned Transcendental Meditation techniques over the past 50 years and many have reported experiencing less stress and increased clarity of mind. It allows those affected by stress and some more extreme PTSD to have a break in their symptoms and to come to a permanent solution.

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Stress_GridStress has different ways of debilitating people. Some are jittery and anxious when they are affected by stress and some because extremely shut off and lethargic. However, there is an ancient science known as Ayurveda that can help you determine your stress type so that you are more aware of your stressors and how you need to handle them. Even if three different people are under the same stressful situation they will respond to it very differently. In the West, the typical general response to stress is to find relaxers that are touted to help everybody, like a hot bath, brisk walk, or a trip to the beach. The difference in eastern medicine, especially in the healing system Ayurveda, is that it looks to reduce stress based on the individual. There are many stress-relief strategies that can be customized to what you need. This Ayurveda lifestyle uses individualized strategies based on dietary, herbal and yogic solutions.

Ayurveda is a healing system, related to Yoga that synthesizes physiology, emotional disposition, and spiritual outlook. It began over 5,000 years ago in India and is documented in ancient Sanskrit texts. Ayurveda considers all different kinds of stressors and responses. It recognizes seasonal stress and planetary changes that affect our bodies as well as physical tendencies and thought patterns. Although there are many ways to explore and study Ayurveda, the bare bones of the healing system is to race your stress back to the source and then find lasting ways to change the patterns that cause that stress.

Stress comes from disorder of the rajas (passion or undirected activity). How we respond to stressors puts us into different Ayurvedic principles like vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (earth). No matter what your imbalance of these elements happens to be, having a clear understanding of what is influencing you can help you understand how to deal with your stress and prevent it from happening again.

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business-of-doing-wellDo businesses have a responsibility to help the social good of the communities in which they operate? The Harvard School of Business is exploring that idea with a new seminar series. Rebecca Henderson, a Harvard professor started asking these types of questions a few years ago, which prompted the series. Henderson said that when she began asking colleagues and business executives, “they say the answer I regulation or that the answer is taxation. The idea that firms can set themselves up for public good is viewed with suspicion-in my view for very good reasons.”

The first workshop in the series took place on January 30 and involved three-dozen faculty and doctoral students from multiple colleges. The seminar series entitled “Business and the Public Sector” runs through May and is seeking to spark conversation and unpack ideas of the role the private sector may play in shaping capitalism. Henderson stated at the conference that businesses have to incentive to deal with public sector problems. She also noted that businesses becoming involved in public projects bay be seen as misuse of shareholders funds or as trying to be subversive when it comes to democratic institutions. It is a difficult thing to maneuver, but there are reasons for businesses to pursue this idea. One reason is the growing rate of global corruption.

Additionally, there are environmental pressures and inequality and poverty to consider. The government should handle these issues, but sometimes action is not taken. The private sector has more resources than the government does and could make more of an impact. In some cases helping the public sector can also be beneficial to the company. For example, IBM reduced their energy consumption and saved $477 million between 1990 and 2012.

Henderson identified two areas that need to be explored. One area is inducement methods for businesses like regulations and taxes. The second is whether it is desirable for businesses and firms to change and regulate themselves when considering helping the public good. Could helping the public be part of a new standard for business practices? Historically in the United States government and business worked together to help the public. This changed around the 1980s when businesses became less localized and tied to communities. This series will continue the discussion and possibly bring about change down the road for businesses and the public.

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140307075614-business-meditation-620xaWorking on Wall Street involves a lot of stress. A job in the financial world involves long hours and high stakes deals. To help improve the health of employees many firms are using Transcendental Meditation techniques. This type of meditation takes you to a quiet place in your mind using by speaking a silent mantra. It is helpful for Wall Street workers because it can help you think in a clear and focused way, while reducing anxiety.

The David Lynch Foundation has had many calls for their $1,000 intensive course on Transcendental Meditation techniques. Many Wall Street Firms offer the course to their employees so that they will be better equipped to handle stress. This movement has taken off and gained a lot of momentum over the past few years. The executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and a Transcendental Meditation teacher, Bob Roth, said, “Two years ago, there were only one or two firms interested in the corporate program, now there are 30 or 40 companies and more expressing interest all the time.”

Firms that manage hedge funds and capital firms have shown the most interest. Some firms like Third Point’s Dan Loeb have even come out publicly with the fact that they are utilizing the program to help their employees with meditation practices. Transcendental Meditation techniques help employees with situations around them. It helps keep those on Wall Street more level headed when the market has bumps, instead of reacting rashly or operating with a crowd mentality.

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This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

This is lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps

Civilians in many African countries have seen some terrible things throughout their lives; some have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape, and murder of loved ones. As a result, for example, many Congolese that have left their homeland and now reside in refugee camps in Uganda are experiencing the terrible effects and symptoms of sever post traumatic stress disorder (more commonly known as PTSD).

New research shows that Congolese war refugees who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique had showed a significant reduction in post traumatic stress disorder in just 10 days, according to a study released in February’s issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 27, Issue 1, 112-115).

According to the study, “Significant Reductions in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Congolese Refugees within 10 days Transcendental Meditation Practice,” eleven subjects were assessed after 10-days and again after 30-days of TM practice. After merely 10-days, PTSD symptoms dropped by roughly 30 points.

“An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days where 90% of TM subjects dropped to a non-symptomatic level. But we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,” said study author Brian Rees, MD, MPH. The study participants were tested using the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Civilians (PCL-C), which rates the severity of PTSD on a scale of 17 to 85. A score below 35 means that the symptoms of PTSD have been abated.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Eleven Congolese refugees who had been tested three times over a 90-day period on the PCL-C, which rates the level of PTSD on a scale from 17 to 85, began with an average score of 77.9. They learned Transcendental Meditation within 8 days of the third test and after 10 days their average score dropped to 48, which was highly clinically significant. They were retested 30 days later measuring an average score of 35.3. With scores below 35 considered non-symptomatic, they were practically symptom free.

Initially, the subjects at the beginning of the study had an average PTSD score of 77.9. After merely 10 days of practicing TM techniques, their PTSD score dramatically dropped to an average score of 48, considered statistically and clinically significant. Thirty days later the subjects were again tested and were found to have an average PTSD score drop further to an average 35.3 – meaning that they were nearly symptom-free.

“What makes this study interesting is when we tested them in the 90 days before they began the TM technique, their PTSD scores kept going up,” said coauthor Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. “During that period their scores were rising, from 68.5 at the beginning to 77.9 after 90 days. But once they started the Transcendental Meditation technique, their PTSD scores plummeted.”

Generally, during TM technique practice, one experiences a deep state of restfulness and alertness. Repeating this experience for 20 minutes twice a day cultures the nervous system to maintain settled mental and physical functioning for the rest of the day. This helps to minimize disturbing thoughts and memories, sleep difficulties, and other adverse PTSD symptoms.

Esperance Ndozi was one of the Congolese refugees traumatized by the civil war. The 35-year old mother of 5 was part of the group of refugees that learned TM. Before learning the effortless technique, Esperance couldn’t find relief from a flood of dark disturbing memories. She could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20-minutes twice a day she describes increasing relaxation and relief from PTSD symptoms. “Your mind, your body relaxes. You feel you are out of the outside world. You are just in your peaceful world. No negativity. It doesn’t come near me now.” Like other refugees in the study the calm and peace grew to last throughout the day. Watch the video below:

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