Hormones Matter TM

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PTSD: The Gift of Fear or Burden

May 30, 2012

The Gift of Fear In high school, my dad gave me a book called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker (you can create a free account on the NYTimes website and read the first chapter here). I was, and still am, obsessed with FBI profiling manuscripts, cop dramas and serial killers. In hindsight, I realize that it was my way of coping with a neighbor who’s behavior was quickly escalating from peeking in our windows at night, to breaking in when we weren’t home, and knocking on the door when I was home alone (we think he probably had some sort of surveillance to know when my parents

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Back to the Womb

May 29, 2012

What is the Birthing Cave? During a recent trip to Sedona, AZ, I met Jesse Kalu, a native Chamorru, musician, and escort to sacred sites. Being that it was my partner’s birthday and the day before Mother’s Day Jesse suggested a hike to the “birthing cave” on Mezcal Mountain. The Hopi believe their people came from center of the earth, i.e. they are born of the womb of the mother. The Hopis of the Red Rock region, where Sedona is located, sent pregnant women to the birthing cave on Mezcal Mountain to (oddly enough) give birth. The women would hike up to this cave right before going into labor and sit

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Health Plan Providers Least Likely to Be Forgiven

The healthcare industry is one of a number of industries that seems to be losing its connection to the people – their customers. This notion was highlighted by the Temkin Group, a research firm that collects and analyzes data about customer experiences, when they released their 2012 Forgiveness Ratings: Turns out, people aren’t very forgiving of their health plan providers.

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A Marine’s Reflection on Memorial Day

May 25, 2012

  The following essay is part of a larger works in progress. Lisbeth Prifogle served in Iraq in 2008 and wanted to share this piece in honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Please join her on Memorial Day for a national moment of silence at 12:01PM for the 6,442 Americans that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Let us not forget.     Roll Call Al Asad Memorial Chapel, Iraq “Captain White,” a voice echoes through the quiet chapel. “Present,” a voice echoes back. “Major Thompson,” the first voice bellows. “Present,” another voice adds to the still air. “Lieutenant Colonel Maddox,” the Sergeant Major’s

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A Memorial Day Tribute to Our WW II Veterans

Everything I need to know about patriotism and self sacrifice, I learned from four World War II veterans at my local Starbucks. I joined these men for coffee nearly every morning for three years, listening to their war stories daily. Some stories made me cry; others made me cringe; all of them made me bow my head in deep awe and respect. I met retired Marine Corps Colonel Vern Sylvester – the commandant of the coffee klatch – on a Valentine’s Day. As I came in for my morning jolt, Vern gave me a rose. Vern had an established Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day tradition of offering a long stem

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VA Health Care Benefits for Female Veterans

I’m not a long-term goal setter. I hate the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I usually try to answer with a clever, Zen-ish remark, “I try to live in the present and worry about the future when it happens. As you can see from my past, I am an overachiever and have no intentions to change my track record or momentum now.” Similarly, when I left active duty everyone asked what were my plans for the future? I replied with enthusiasm, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow!” Unfortunately, my mother was quick to point out that this was not the proper approach to look at the

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Possible Treatment for Chemo Resistant Ovarian Cancer

May 22, 2012

Though menopause does not cause cancer, 90% of ovarian cancers occur after menopause, according to the American Cancer Society. The association is due to the fact that certain cancer rates increase with age, which is probably why half of ovarian cancer cases have been diagnosed in women older than 63 years of age. Ovarian cancer is also incredibly difficult to detect: There are no obvious symptoms in the early stages of the disease and women often do not show signs of ovarian cancer until the cancer is well advanced.

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Who’s Afraid of the Ob/Gyn? Lack of Communication between Women and Their Doctors

The National Council of Women’s Organization’s Women’s Health Task Force held a panel discussion this past Tuesday called, Blaming the Victim: A Discussion about Diseases and Conditions Women Suffer From and Get Blamed For. This talk got me thinking about the various ways women do not feel comfortable talking with their health care providers about their own health issues. The panel brought up the important issues of shame, which keeps women from having these conversations, their lack of health insurance, and the role women play as caregivers (and therefore, let their own health issues come second). When discussing shame, I was instantly drawn to Ob/Gyns. What other health care professional

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Placental Encapsulation and Postpartum Health

May 21, 2012

The placenta plays an important role in endocrine functioning during pregnancy. The hormones contained within the placenta at the time of parturition may still be beneficial to mothers during their postpartum recovery. As such, an entire industry has sprung up around placental encapsulation and the subsequent ingestion of these capsules. Preliminary research is beginning to identify the hormones and other substances contained within the placenta and determine what health affects ingestion of placental pills may elicit.  This article reviews some of the research in placentophagy. Currently known hormones, vitamins and minerals found in placental tissue: Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and Cortisol Progesterone Estrogens (estrone, estradiol and estriol) Endorphins Thyroid-Releasing hormone (TRH),

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Exploring Brain Differences: Male v Female

The human brain is a truly amazing organ. It controls body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing; takes in an infinite amount of information about the world using our senses; coordinates our physical movement when walking, talking, standing or sitting; and allows us to think, dream, reason and experience emotions. And while the brain, like your mother, loves her children – male and female – the same, she loves them differently. One reason for this difference may have to do with the brain structure. For starters, males have larger brains (and heads) on average than women, even when accounting for differences between male and female height and weight. The male

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