January 31, 2015

Homeless Jesus sleeping on a bench statue to be installed where homeless aren't allowed to sleep on benches

First Presbyterian Church of Orlando is about equidistant between Orlando Public Library and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. A few blocks north, the homeless pass the library with their bedrolls, backpacks and shopping carts. A few blocks to the south, patrons of the arts congregate in their high heels, tuxedos and tickets to Broadway plays.On the corner of Jackson Street and Rosalind Avenue, where those two groups intersect at First Presbyterian, is the future site of "Homeless Jesus" — a life-size sculpture of a Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench.

The bronze sculpture, by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, has sparked outrage and praise in the nine cities throughout the world where it has been installed. Churches in Toronto rejected it. Pope Francis blessed it.

To some, the sculpture is blasphemous — Jesus was the Son of God, not a homeless man. To others, including First Presbyterian Pastor David Swanson, it perfectly represents Jesus as a man of the marginalized.

"Jesus identified with the suffering and the circumstances of the homeless," Swanson said. "To me, it says everyone has dignity and worth, and it's a reminder to everyone that when you do it to the least of these, we're doing it to him."

The depiction of Jesus is subtle. The face of the man on the bench is covered by a blanket. Only his feet protrude from beneath the blanket with the telltale scars of the nail holes from his crucifixion.

"It's very striking. It just looks like someone in a shroud or a blanket. You don't see a face, but when you look at it closely, you see the scars on the feet, and you realize it's Jesus," Swanson said.

Orlando was selected not because it has an inordinate amount of homeless people, but because the ambition of the sculptor is to have one in every major American city.

"It wasn't your specific homeless situation, but there is a specific homeless situation in every major city," said Tony Frey, Schmalz's business partner and the person responsible for scouting locations for the sculpture.

Frey, who is familiar with Orlando because his mother-in-law lives in Winter Park, said Swanson was the first to respond to a query he sent four downtown Orlando churches. Swanson said he had read about the sculpture in other cities and felt his church was the perfect place for Homeless Jesus in Orlando.

First Presbyterian feeds breakfast to an estimated 200 homeless people every Sunday and donates $150,000 annually to homeless organizations, and Swanson serves on the board of the Commission on Homelessness in Orlando. But the church also has the affluence within its congregation to find a donor to contribute the $40,000 the sculpture costs to create, transport and install.

"For me, the $40,000 will remind people that Jesus is still with us and wants us to see the least and the lost," Swanson said.

Swanson expects Homeless Jesus will be in place in April, when it will join those already in place in Knoxville, Tenn.; Chicago; Phoenix; Charleston, W.Va.; and Davidson, N.C. Other American cities that have ordered the sculpture include Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Oklahoma City; and Montgomery, Ala.


Mo. Man Arrested After Telling Black Waitress He Wanted to Show Her Where He ‘Hung’ Her Grandpa

Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice on Wednesday announced that he has filed a felony assault charge against Tommy Dean Gaa, 65, Maryville, in connection with an alleged hate crime.
According to a probable cause statement filed by Maryville Public Safety Officer Adam James, Gaa was taken into custody after ordering breakfast at a local business on Sunday, Jan. 25, where he was waited on by an African-American employee.
The employee, according to James’ statement, asked Gaa if he wanted white or wheat toast, and Gaa allegedly responded by saying, “I’m prejudiced. I’ll take white.”
Moments later, Gaa is said to have approached the employee, allegedly grabbing her arm in a manner that caused bruising and asking her if she “liked to party.”
According to the probable cause statement, Gaa then allegedly said, “I have a place I would like to take you where I hung your grandpa.”
The report stated the employee then left the part of the business open to the public and returned to a kitchen area.
James reported that Gaa initially denied making the statements, then allegedly admitted that he committed at least some of the acts described above.

According to the officer’s report, Gaa “volunteered” a comment about there being “good and bad” people of different races, and in doing so uttered a highly offensive term for people of African descent.

Woman suing cop who left her locked in back of police truck with man who ended up raping her

There was plenty of drinking in Tasiujaq that weekend in 2011, just as there was whenever a shipment of alcohol arrived in the isolated village in Quebec’s far north.
The lone police officer on duty on the night of Sept. 19 had her hands full. Fresh out of police school, she had been on the job less than a month and was not even authorized to carry a sidearm.
But as she apprehended a 17-year-old girl who had become heavily intoxicated, Const. Danielle Gallant made a decision that would come back to haunt her.
According to court documents, she handcuffed the girl and placed her in the back of her Kativik Regional Police Force vehicle truck. Already in the backseat for having caused a disturbance — but not handcuffed — was Joe Kritik, who at age 24 already had four convictions for sexual assault and was listed on the national sex offender registry. 
As the officer made a third stop, she left the two detainees alone, and Mr. Kritik pounced on the girl. “When Constable Gallant came back to her vehicle after a short period of time, she observed Mr. Kritik with his pants down while on top of the plaintiff,” a statement of claim filed by the victim states. “The plaintiff was unable to defend herself, being handcuffed in her back and unable to leave the vehicle, the doors being locked.”
Despite the assault, the girl was kept in a police cell overnight and was not given medical attention, the lawsuit says. Her parents were not contacted.
Kritik pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the girl in 2012 and was sentenced to 39 months in prison.
A lawsuit filed last year in Quebec Superior Court against Ms. Gallant, the Kativik Regional Police Force (KRPF) and the Kativik Regional Government is seeking $400,000 in damages for the victim, who cannot be identified. 
“The KRPF manifested a serious lack of professionalism and gross negligence by leaving an inexperienced police officer, with no knowledge or life experience of northern Quebec populations, and without the authorization to carry a firearm, to ensure alone the security of the public,” the suit, recently uncovered by La Presse, reads.
The allegations have not been tested in court and none of the defendants has filed a defence. A spokeswoman for the Kativik Regional Government, which oversees the police force, said it would not comment while the matter is before the courts. A message left Thursday for Ms. Gallant was not returned.
The assault has left deep psychological scars, according to documents filed with the court. The victim, now 21, had no history of mental health problems but now displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, psychologist Joseph Beltempo concluded after assessing her last year. She experiences nightmares of the rape and will not leave her home alone. She is drinking more and is afraid of men.
“Her depression, loneliness and isolation are getting worse,” the psychologist wrote.

The Stadium Hosting The Super Bowl Is Sponsored With Taxpayer Dollars Meant For Veterans

More than 100 million people are estimated to tune in to Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between the Seahawks and the Patriots. But there’s a subplot to the stage for the game — the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium in Phoenix, Arizona — that speaks to a contentious topic in the modern military veterans’ world.
The Arizona Cardinals sold the naming rights for their stadium to the University of Phoenix, a for-profit, largely online, system of colleges and universities.
It was a massive corporate sponsor deal inked in 2006. According to a 2009 New York Times piece, the deal spans 20 years and costs the University of Phoenix $7.7 million for each year of the deal, or $154 million over the course of the sponsorship.
But where do they get that much money for a marketing endeavor? The answer lies in programs designed to help the modern military and veterans population, as well as a business model designed to recruit hundreds of thousands of students and charge them lofty tuition rates for questionable degrees.
The school reportedly employs as many as 8,000 recruiters, who work to make sure paying students are enrolled at their campuses across the country. Due to its for-profit model, the University of Phoenix has to justify its business model to the people who own stock in its parent company — the Apollo Education Group — not its student population.
Indeed, many University of Phoenix campuses boast a student loan default rate that’s higher than its graduation rate. A 2013 USA Today study named no fewer than eight distinct University of Phoenix campuses had higher student loan default rates — consistently 26.4% — than graduation rates.
But having its students take our burdensome student loans to finance their education is not the University of Phoenix’s sole source of income. Indeed, the school heavily targets the modern military veterans population, whose members have the post-9/11 G.I. Bill at their disposal, which can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to veterans obtaining degrees after their military service.
The University of Phoenix system has made a staggering amount of money from the G.I. Bill — almost $1 billion,according to a report published by the Daily Beast in 2014.
One of those University of Phoenix campuses with a lower graduation rate than student loan default — the one in San Diego, California —  has a graduation rate of 10% and a student loan default rate of over 26%, according to that USA Today report. That campus was part of a Center for Investigative Reporting report published last year. In it, reporter Aaron Glantz detailed how since 2009, that specific San Diego campus — with an enrollment of around 3,000 students — had taken more money from the G.I. Bill than any individual college or university in the United States.
What’s more, according to Glantz’ reporting, that same individual University of Phoenix San Diego campus has taken more G.I. Bill money since 2009 than every school in the entire University of California system combined.
This disparity, this profiteering on taxpayer dollars that are intended to help veterans, has led to one group, the Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund, to create a petition surrounding the University of Phoenix.
The fund exists to offer financial relief to veterans who have fallen in dire straits due to burdensome student debt.The group’s website details much of the problems with the University of Phoenix’s financial model. According to the group, the average American community college spends more than $3,000 per student on instruction. In 2010, the University of Phoenix spent fewer than $900 per student on instruction.

Sarah Palin speech inadvertently raises $50,000 for Hillary Clinton

Sarah Palin’s eccentric speech to a Republican conference in Iowa last weekend, which has been criticised even by some of her conservative supporters, has now helped a group backing Hillary Clinton to raise $50,000, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Ready For Hillary, the political action committee (PAC) collecting money and support in anticipation of a second presidential campaign by Clinton, used Palin’s speech to the Freedom Summit to fuel a fundraising drive after she mocked the former secretary of state.
Waving a “Ready For Hillary” car magnet as she stood behind the podium at a theatre in Des Moines, Palin said: “Hey Iowa, can anyone stop Hillary? To borrow a phrase, ‘Yes we can!’ And it starts here and it starts now.”
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, also appeared to make a jibe about Clinton’s age. “Is Hillary a New Democrat,” she said, referring to the party’s 1990s centrist faction, “or an old one?”
Clinton is 67.
Ready For Hillary promptly drew attention to the speech in an email to supporters. “Palin was trying to say that Republicans will be ready to launch relentless attacks on Hillary from the moment she announces her decision,” it said. The group asked for donations of $20.16 to help counter the Republican effort, offering car magnets in return.
The group told supporters on Tuesday that Palin’s speech had brought in more than $25,000 in contributions. “The response we got was overwhelming – hundreds of supporters stepped up,” a spokesman said in an email, joking that the total meant Palin qualified as a co-chair of the group’s national finance council.
However, Seth Bringman, a spokesman for Ready For Hillary, said in an email to the Guardian on Thursday that the total haul of contributions directly prompted by the email about Palin’s speech now actually stands at “over $50,000”.
Ready For Hillary has raised about $12.2m since its formation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Palin’s speech, in which she described President Barack Obama as an “overgrown little boy who is acting kinda spoiled”, received poor reviews from several conservative commentators, while Republican operatives cast doubt on her latest claim to be considering a presidential campaign of her own.
Former colleagues on Fox News, where Palin once worked as a political analyst, appeared to join the ranks of those puzzled by her remarks. Sean Hannity, typically a loyal supporter, noted to Palin that “a lot of people” had been critical. “Did the teleprompter go down, did you have trouble with the copy, was there any moment in the speech where you had any difficulty?” Hannity asked.
Palin was also engaged in an unlikely dispute with Bill O’Reilly, the conservative broadcaster and author who is frequently the channel’s top-rated anchor. After O’Reilly appeared to mock her as a mere reality television personality, Palin returned to Hannity’s show to complain. “The left doesn’t do that, OK?” she said. “They take this serious, because this is war.”

Venezuela legalizes use of lethal weapons by the national armed forces against protesters

An internal ruling made by the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense, published on Tuesday, January 27, in state newsletter Gaceta Oficial, legalizes the use of lethal weapons by the national armed forces (FANB) against protesters.
Resolution 008610, signed by General-in-Chief and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, establishes the “use of force, with a firearm or any other potentially lethal weapon” as the last resort to “prevent disorder, support the legitimately constituted authority, and counter all aggression, immediately confronting it with the necessary measures.” 
Article 68 of the Constitution, however, stipulates: “The use of firearms and toxic substances to control peaceful demonstrations is prohibited.”
The new measures also specify that a new Public Order Manual for state security services will be created within the next three months to facilitate training and prevent abuses. However, the new rules on the use of force are to be applied “immediately.”
Under Venezuelan law, the Defense Ministry does not have the authority to override or ignore the Constitution and the norms contained therein. María Esperanza Hermida, coordinator for enforcement in Venezuelan NGO (Provea) argued that the measure violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as transferring competencies to the military which are the preserve of the civil police. 
In an interview with the PanAm Post, Jose Vicente Haro, a Venezuelan university professor of constitutional law, said that restricting or limiting the application of human rights is a measure that can only be discussed in the National Assembly, as a bill subject to modification that must be approved by two-thirds of legislators, as outlined in Article 203 of the Constitution.
Haro also explained that Article 23 of the Constitution establishes that all human-rights treaties signed and ratified by Venezuela have an overriding constitutional character, taking precedence over any law or resolution issued by the Venezuelan state.

Criminalization of a Right

Hermida raised further concerns about the scope for interpretation contained within the Defense Ministry’s ruling that lethal force could be used to “support the legitimately constituted authority.” For the Provea activist, protests by their essence are a complaint against the authorities, meaning that any demonstration against the government could be dispersed with live ammunition. 
Hermida explained that the great majority of the 9,286 protests that took place in 2014 — the highest figure yet in Venezuela — didn’t become violent until state security forces attempted to disperse them. As such, she argued, stipulating in a quasi-legal text that simply expressing anti-government sentiments could be constituted as aggression is to criminalize the right to protest.
She mentioned that several recent precedents reinforce a authoritarian trend within government policy. One recent law on Organized Crime and Terrorism permitted Venezuelan judges to classify peaceful marches as terrorist activity. Legislation creating a so-called Protection System for Peace similarly established a week ago that all citizens must report activity responsible for “destabilization” to the authorities, something which Hermida describes as encouraging the formation of vigilante groups.
“The next massacre, the next Caracazo, the next Bassil Dacosta, could be legal. The military want to accelerate violence and sow fear. They’re going to kill people, and they’ll do it ‘within the laws’ that they themselves approve,” online Venezuelan activist Luis Carlos Díaz wrote on Facebook.

The Mushroom that Shows Promise Against Cancer

When we think of cancer in our Western world, we tend to think of harsh chemicals or toxic radiation as the treatments. But promising new research published in the journal Phytomedicine suggests that we might want to give serious consideration to the humble mushroom cordyceps that quietly rears its head deep within our forest floors.
Cordyceps (cordyceps militaris) is also known as caterpillar fungus and has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as a lung and kidney tonic and for loss of stamina, fatigue, shallow breathing, wheezing, and as an aphrodisiac.
According to the Phytomedicine study on human leukemia cells, a compound found in cordyceps known as cordycepin seems to have a toxic effect on cancer cells while also causing cancer cells to commit suicide—a process known as apoptosis, without having a toxic effect on healthy cells.
The study examined the anti-cancer properties of a tea made from the mushrooms versus the mushrooms themselves and found that both had anti-cancer activity but the actual cordyceps mushrooms had stronger activity. There are many different types of products on the market including: powdered, tea, alcohol extract (tincture), dehydrated whole cordyceps, glycerine extract (glycerite), and capsules.
Additional earlier research in the Japanese journal Fitoterapia has also shown that cordyceps works against cancer in many different ways, including:
  • Blocking the ability of tumors to grow (anti-tumor);
  • Blocking the ability of cancer cells to multiply (anti-proliferative);
  • Stopping cancer from spreading to different parts of the body (anti-metastatic);
  • Improving the immune system’s ability to fight cancer (immunomodulatory); and
  • Attacking free radicals before they can damage cells and tissues, which would otherwise make them vulnerable to cancer (antioxidant).
Research in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology showed that cordyceps was also effective against prostate cancer. A study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found cordyceps to cause lung cancer cells to die. Other research found that cordyceps reduced cell growth of a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.
Earlier research in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin found similar anti-cancer activity in an herbal tea made from dried cordyceps mushroom. The researchers found that, like the Phytomedicine study, cordyceps caused cancer cells to commit suicide, suggesting a sixth method by which the mushroom works against cancer (apoptotic).
According to mycologist, herbalist, and author of The Fungal Pharmacy Robert Rogers, “(the mushroom) has a spicy, cinnamon fragrance that lends itself to soups and broths.” If using cordyceps in capsule or supplement form, 600 mg/day is a common therapeutic dose. Be sure to choose a supplement that is a 5:1 extract to ensure a high potency product. Select one that is confirmed organic cordyceps sourced from a clean location. Consult your doctor before using. 

3 Ways to Help Treat Your Autoimmune Disorder

Many autoimmune sufferers can recall a trauma that likely triggered their condition, whether it was physical, emotional, or environmental.
There’s been a stark rise in autoimmune disorders over the past 50 years, According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, callers more often ask for information regarding autoimmune disorders than anything else. The National Institutes of Health estimates there are about 23.5 million Americans sufferers but the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association thinks the figure is more like 50 million.
Oftentimes, western medicine simply treats the symptoms rather than looking at the disorder from a holistic point of view. 
1. (Real) Food Is Thy Medicine
Many autoimmune disorder sufferers can benefit from cleaning up their diet. I had already been off gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar cane   for about six years, but identifying more obscure food sensitivities also made a difference. A naturopath can place you on an elimination diet.
Personally, I believe diet should be tailored to the individual, but there are certainly some basics that apply to all. For instance, try to eat organic whole foods void of chemicals and steer clear from processed foods that are full of preservatives, artificial colorings and flavorings.
Foods you are allergic or sensitive to will cause inflammation in your body, which is the cause of many diseases for that matter.
Another way to approach inflammation is by targeting your intestinal flora and integrating a top notch probiotic one that actually makes it to your tummy. The acid in your esophagus can kill probiotics if the pill doesn’t have an enteric coating, preferably one not made out of plastic.
“Probiotics can fight off potentially inflammatory microbes and communicate with the immune system to down-regulate inflammation,” says Desiree Nielsen, RD. By the way, we create most of our serotonin, in our gut. Good bugs also help produce and absorb B vitamins and folate, which are also important if you suffer from an autoimmune condition!
If you have lupus specifically, avoid alfalfa sprouts because they contain an amino acid that has been shown to cause inflammation, says Rebekah Langford, ( RD, CDN, and CNSC. Meanwhile, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, sardines, and ground flax seeds can also help alleviate inflammation. And Vitamin D3 and magnesium are also essential supplements that have helped me.
2. Master Detoxifier
Glutathione (pronounced “gloota-thigh-own) is the body’s master antioxidant made up of a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids — cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. Glutathione is a master in that it directly neutralizes free radicals, reduces hydrogen peroxide into water (reducing inflammation), and assists in the role of other antioxidants like vitamin C,E, and lipoic acid. Glutathione contains sulfur groups, which are sticky compounds that adhere to toxins and heavy metals and carry them out of the body.
Normally glutathione is recycled in the body, but if you’ve experienced a massive toxic load, like getting a big whiff of insecticides on a cloudy tropical day, then reserves are depleted.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections, and radiation all drain glutathione and can lend to an autoimmune disorder.
Today we live in a world where chemical body burden is common; there are about 80,000 toxic industrial chemicals floating around in our environment. And unfortunately we haven’t been equipped with additional detoxification software.
Meanwhile, your methylation cycle may also be disrupted, explains Michelle Corey, author of The Thyroid Cure: The Functional Mind-Body Approach to Reversing Your Autoimmune Condition and Reclaiming Your Health . Corey is an Autoimmune Recovery Expert, Medical Advocate, and Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. She personally recovered from
Lupus and Hashimoto’s and has developed a program that has already helped over 700 people to do the same. She says your genetics may make it difficult for you to create and recycle enough glutathione.
“(Or) you could be lacking the important nutrients such as B12, folate and betaine, which are needed to produce and recycle glutathione. If you lack enough of these nutrients, it could be due to a deficiency in your diet, or low stomach acid or some other factor like drinking too much alcohol.”
Studies have linked impaired methylation and low levels of glutathione to every type of autoimmune condition, says Corey.
Unfortunately the body doesn’t easily absorb glutathione via pills. So when I was really feeling crappy, my naturopath was administering intravenous doses of glutathione on a weekly basis.
Read her book to discover additional things you can do to boost your own levels of glutathione.
3. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

What exactly is LDN, you may ask? It’s been used for years to treat opioid addiction. Eventually a doctor named Bernard Bihari noticed that that this opiate blocker was helping heroin addicts who also suffered from HIV/AIDS; the medication seemed to bolster their immune systems.
It turns out that when given a smaller dose (4.5 mg), the medication can help reduce pain associated with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. I started feeling better quite quickly. The only side effects are vivid dreams and that has faded with time.
LDN was approved back in 1984, meaning the patent has expired and thus pharmaceutical companies can’t make big money off of it. Hence why it’s little-known and is not FDA-approved for the treatment of pain. You have to find a doctor or naturopath to prescribe the medication.
No Magic Bullet
The truth is that autoimmune disease is “multi-dimensional and algorithmic,” says Dr. Alexander J. Rinehart.
“Two patients could have rheumatoid arthritis for two very different sets of reasons. One could really be aggravated by something like a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Another could be caused by an infection,” remarks Rinehart.
Ideally, a skilled medial professional goes through a check list of possible causes, personalizing your treatment along the way. But since that isn’t always the case, it’s best to be your own health advocate and sleuth. These three tips can definitely set you along the path to recovery. 

by Maryam Henein

6 Weird Tooth Pains, Explained!

You know the drill: Most of the time you tend to ignore aches and pains in your mouth, putting off dentist visits unless something visibly impacts your smile. You know, like getting elbowed in the face by a cameraman, a la Tiger Woods last week in Cortina. 
But while it can be easy to ignore the tenderness in your teeth, the root of the problem (get it?) may be much deeper. Here are six mystery tooth pains that you definitely shouldn’t brush off. 
1. Cold Sensitivity
You feel an achy pain radiating from the core of your teeth after enduring a blast of wind as you walk outside or drink an icy beverage. If frigid temperatures pain your pearly whites for no more than 5 to 10 seconds, it’s probably nothing serious and you may want to start using toothpaste for sensitive teeth, says Robert S. Roda, D.D.S., M.S., the president of the American Association of Endodontists. 
But if the pain persists, it’s possible you may have a broken filling or cavity, so you should book a dentist appointment, says Edmond R. Hewlett, D.D.S., professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.  
It also depends where the ache comes from, says Pia Lieb, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. If you feel discomfort all over your mouth, you may have periodontal (gum) disease, which causes the gums to recede and expose the tooth’s roots due to not sufficiently brushing or flossing. In that case, you should visit a periodontist, who will place composites over the exposed root to protect them from the cold. 
If you experience irritation in specific areas of your mouth, your bite may be misaligned or your tooth enamel—the protective shell on the outside of your teeth—may have chipped off. Your dentist can help you adjust your bite so you don’t take too much stress on specific teeth, says Dr. Lieb.
If your lack of enamel is the cause, search your drugstore for protective toothpastes and cut back on foods and drinks that wear away your mineral layer, like soda or coffee. 

2. Sore Gums
The unnoticed poppy seed jammed between your front teeth can bring you more than a bit of embarrassment. If your gums feel sore in a specific area of your mouth, trapped food bits are usually the culprits, says Dr. Lieb. Any foreign object that gets displaced under the gum can cause inflammation, she says. 
On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Roda says tender gums may also be the earliest signs of significant gum disease, which can develop if you don’t get your teeth cleaned regularly. (The American Dental Association recommends a checkup every 6 months.) 
Another alarming possibility? The tissue inside your tooth pulp—the tooth’s center that contains blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves—may be dying or infected, says Dr. Roda. This can be caused from sports injuries, like a baseball to the mouth, which can cut off the tip of your root from its blood supply.
Additionally, if you don’t clean your mouth well, the healthy pulp tries to rid itself of harmful bacteria on its own, but could choke the blood vessels by raising the pulp’s pressure instead. 
3. Bite Sensitivity
Soreness when chewing or biting may be a sign that your canines are cracked, so go to the dentist immediately if you don’t want them to split completely in half, says Dr. Roda. 
How did this happen? Blame modern dental hygiene. Teeth are lasting longer than in prior generations due to good brushing and flossing habits, Dr. Roda says. The repetitive daily stress you put on your mouth inevitably will lead to fractures down the line, and the dental community is currently struggling with how to preserve your pearly whites. 
Other possible causes include a heavy bite contact, dead nerve tissue, or abscessed teeth (painful infection at the root), says Dr. Hewlett. The next step? By now, it’s a familiar refrain: Make an appointment with your dentist. 
4. Broad Jaw Achiness (With a Side of Headaches and Sore Cheeks)
Blame an annoying habit for that dispersed ache in your jaws that’s difficult to pinpoint: bruxism, or grinding or clenching your jaw. (What’s the difference? You grind your teeth at night, you clench during the day.) This unintentional wear and tear can normally be treated with a night guard that locks your jaws so they can’t move, says Dr. Lieb.
Another, more cost-effective cure: awareness. If you notice you’re clamping your chompers like Tom Cruise playing volleyball in Top Gun, slowly blow air out of your mouth, allowing your upper and lower jaw to disengage, advises Dr. Lieb.
The natural resting place of the jaw muscles is when your teeth are hanging 1 to 2 millimeters apart, says Dr. Roda. So try opening your mouth and guiding your jaws to that position.

5. Dull Pain in Your Top Teeth When Walking on Hard Surfaces
You’re not crazy—this is actually a thing. And the harder the surface, the more painful your top teeth feel. “It’s pretty certain that you have a sinus problem of some kind,” says Dr. Lieb. The dull pain may become more pronounced if you’re walking up and down stairs or you jump off of something and land. 
“The roots of your upper teeth stick up into the sinus,” says Dr. Roda. “With a sinus infection, your sinus fills with fluid, and it can cause various types of sensations.” The feeling should cease when your sinus infection clears. 
6. Burning Sensation on Your Tongue
Alarmed that your tongue burns and slightly resembles a map of islands? You’re not alone, and this weird image actually has a name: geographic tongue. 
What processes transform your mouth into a cartographer? Your tongue’s surface is covered with papillae, which resemble a sort of 1960s shag rug, says Dr. Lieb. When you’re stressed or your immune system is lowered, you can lose the papillae, a similar idea to chopping your shag rug with scissors. The papillae protect your tongue, so your guard is down and acidic foods or drinks may lead to more intense burning. The fuzzy surface will grow back on its own, Dr. Lieb says, taking anywhere from a day to a week.

The Truth about Your Night Sweats

If you wake up drenched in sweat, think of your armpits as evidence. You’ll have to do some sleuthing to figure out what’s prompting your perspiration.
Night sweats aren’t rare: In one study published in Annals of Family Medicine, about a third of primary care patients reported night sweats during the past month. However, no one knows exactly how common the condition is, because most sufferers never report the symptom to their doctor, says study author James Mold, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the University of Oklahoma.

In a literature review published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Dr. Mold and his colleagues revealed that several factors increase the likelihood of night sweats, including panic attacks, sleep problems, fever, numbness in hands and feet, anxiety and stress, and trouble breathing at night.
Night sweats may also be a side effect of medication, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly prescribed for depression. “Though causation has neither been proven nor disproven with certainty, it seems likely that SSRIs are a cause,” says Dr. Mold.

The worst case: Night sweats could indicate a serious problem. Dr. Mold’s study review suggests that they can be a symptom of autoimmune diseases, heart problems, endocrine disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease, HIV, tuberculosis, certain cancers, sleep apnea, and panic disorders.

How can these things make you soak through your shirt? Your body uses sweat to reduce your core temperature when it spikes above a threshold called the thermoneutral zone, research suggests. Lots of things push your body temp into this zone, from use of heavy blankets to inflammatory processes inside your body when you have an infection or disease.

Some research even suggests that these inflammatory mediators periodically spike during the night. What’s more, several other conditions can impact your sympathetic nervous system, your sweat glands, or other factors that influence your body’s ability to regulate its temperature, research shows.

Another theory might apply to healthy guys: People who work out may be conditioned to sweat at lower temperatures than expected, Dr. Mold and his colleagues posited in their study review. It’s not clear whether this could lead to night sweats, but one study in Human Kinetics did find that night sweats can be a sign of overtraining.

The bottom line: If you wake up in a pool of sweat almost every night, or if your alarm sounds and you’re soaked through your pajamas, you should see your doctor, says Dr. Mold.

He also suggests monitoring your body temperature twice a day for a week to detect any fevers, and keeping a record of other symptoms to bring to your doc. Usually, night sweats aren’t the only symptom when something is wrong.

The best strategy to reduce night sweats is to treat whatever underlying condition is causing them. In the case of SSRI-induced night sweats, some people have seen improvement by adding medications called alpha-adrenergic blockers, research shows.

5 Healthy Habits That Can Make You Gain Weight

Your plate is filled with veggies. You carve out time to exercise. And yet every time you step on the scale, the needle seems to be creeping upward. Here's unsettling news: Some of your most health conscious habits may add pounds. However, with a few tweaks you can alter the following healthy behaviors to get help shed that unwanted weight. 
You exercise religiously.
But the needle on the scale won't budge. If anything, you're gaining weight. The problem is hour-long runs and slogging away on the elliptical can raise levels of the stress-hormone cortisol and keep them elevated—and that encourages fat storage. You're much better off doing interval training, which are short bursts of intense effort followed by active rest. An example would be running hard for 30 seconds, then jogging for a minute or more while your body recovers. Repeat this cycle for 15 or 20 minutes, and you'll burn more calories and lose weight faster. Researchers at the University of Western Australia compared a 20-minute interval workout to a 40-minute routine at steady pace in a group of non-dieting, overweight women. After 15 weeks, the interval group had dropped 15 pounds while those who kept a steady pace had actually gained a pound. One more tip: Avoid sports drinks and protein bars following your exercise, says Heather Bainbridge, RD, of the Weight Control Center at Columbia University's Medical Center. You'll likely add back more calories than you burned. Stick to water and a piece of fruit.
You take your meds.
Your prescription pills could be be adding pounds. Many antidepressants, anti-inflammatory steroids, and antihistamines carry the little-known side effect of weight gain. The drugs can interfere with metabolism or hunger signals: Antidepressants often impede serotonin—the neurotransmitter that switches appetite on and off; anti-inflammatory steroids like prednisone not only slow metabolism, they shift fat to unwanted places like the face, neck, and abdomen. "If you're noticing weight gain, you should work with your primary care physician on lowering your dosage or shifting to a weight-neutral medication," says Lawrence Cheskin, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.
You eat a healthy breakfast.
Yet you're starving a few hours later. "The number one problem we see is people having oatmeal and juice for breakfast," says Louis Aronne, MD, an obesity expert at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "They think it's healthy because it's fat-free and low calorie, but they're still hungry and gaining weight." Breakfast grains like cereal and oatmeal spike blood sugar levels. Adding juice or a banana piles on the carbs and ramps up fat storage. Instead, Aronne recommends a breakfast with protein, like Greek yogurt with berries, or an omelet with lots of veggies  . Starting the day with a low-carb, high protein diet can help you burn 150 more calories per day, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
You shop only for organic, fat-free products.
Kudos to you for spending more for sustainably produced, healthy foods. But smart purchases don't give you a green light: "Too often people who buy fat-free or low-fat products think it's fine to eat more," says Cheskin. "However, the fat is often replaced with sugar, and the food is just as caloric." When people see organic or reduced-fat labeling, they underestimate calories and overestimate serving sizes, according to research from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. Don't let your virtuous shopping habits lull you into believing you can eat as much as you want.  
You've cut way back on sugar.
But the artificial sweeteners you're downing may actually encourage you to eat more. A body of research has shown that prolonged use of artificial sweeteners leads to weight gain and even alters your gut microbes' response to sugar, which makes you more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes. One problem is that artificial sweeteners are far sweeter than sugar. They trick the brain into thinking we're getting sugar. We start to crave sweets, and that leads to overeating. This drives up insulin levels and triggers fat storage. Instead of aspartame, get your sugar from whole fruits, especially antioxidant-filled berries.

January 30, 2015

Study: Most People Think Scientists Are Full Of It

There’s a consensus among scientists: Genetically modified foods and pesticides are safe to eat, humans caused climate change, and animal research is necessary.
The general public disagrees about every single one of those statements.
Pew Research Center just released its 2015 report on the state of science in the United States, and the results are…disappointing. The thrust of the 93-page behemoth is that scientists have dedicated their lives to developing informed theories about the world around us—and the general public is unimpressed.
If nothing else, this research reminds us that scientific priorities really do transcend politics. Although conservatives often get a bad rap for voting against science—a reputation that climate skeptics totally deserve—the data show that a bunch of steadfast liberal values are pretty anti-science, too.
For instance, it should drive you crazy when anti-GMO Democrats call out Republican climate deniers, because neither of them have the scientific community in their corner.
Fortunately, according to the Pew data, we can all agree on a few broad points. Both citizens and scientists say the government should continue to fund scientific research. And both recognize the importance of science education (while sharing the belief that we need to make it better).

Obama’s nominee for attorney general claims alcohol is safer than marijuana

Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for attorney general, disagrees with him on marijuana. That weed is not safer than alcohol might have been the most controversial thing she said during her confirmation hearing Wednesday. As Danny Vinik notes, polls show that large majorities of Americans believe that alcohol is more dangerous.
They're right, as a matter of medical science. Wonkblog has noted repeatedly that alcohol is a very dangerous drug, both to users and to the people around them, and government statistics reflect the fact that marijuana is much safer. That's not to say it's safe, particularly for adolescents, but Lynch appears to be overstating weed's dangers.
This is important, as the attorney general has the authority to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, the most dangerous classification of drugs. Doing so would give researchers a chance to study weed carefully, and figure out whether it's possible to safely and effectively prescribe it for medical purposes. 
What's in Wonkbook: 1) Fed keeps schedule for rates 2) Opinions, including Flavelle on college savings 3) The earthquakes in Oklahoma just won't stop, and more
Chart of the day: Obama's tax proposals would raise taxes on the wealthy while lowering them for the poor, on average. For the rest of the country, families and people in college would benefit, according to the Tax Policy Center, but the proposal would be a wash for the middle class as a whole. The Washington Post.
1. Top story: Federal Reserve still plans on raising rates this year
Optimistic about the economy, the Fed stays the course. "Treating the recent turmoil in markets as essentially meaningless noise, the Fed issued its most upbeat assessment of economic conditions since the recession, after its first policy-making meeting of the year, in a statement that noted solid economic growth and strong job growth. ... Fed officials for more than a year have pointed to the summer of 2015 as the likely time for the central bank to increase its benchmark interest rate, but investors are increasingly convinced that the sluggish pace of inflation will force the Fed to wait until fall at the earliest." Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times.
Primary source: The statement of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Investors don't share that optimism. "Sure, investors are fighting the Fed. But the Fed is fighting reality. Even with falling oil prices and the rising dollar poised to put the freeze on inflation, Federal Reserve policy makers still look as if they hope to start raising rates in June. ... Yet credit-market participants have come to think the Fed’s liftoff on rates will likely come later. Federal funds futures, which price off of Fed target-rate expectations, now put higher odds on the central bank tightening policy in September than in June. And Treasury yields have fallen markedly over the past month. Fed officials may act like they can raise rates despite what is happening with inflation readings, but investors are questioning whether that is really the case." Justin Lahart in The Wall Street Journal.
DUY: Unless things get better quickly, central bankers might have to change their plans. "Within the context of the current forecast, I think that June will be difficult to justify in the absence of wage acceleration. A sharp decline in the forecast, or the balance of risks to the forecast, would also prompt a delay. Importantly, at this point they see the current forecast as still the most likely outcome." Economist's View.
2. Top opinions
FLAVELLE: Obama gives in to the affluent and agrees to keep the 529 program. "The debate over 529 accounts, which allow families to avoid paying income taxes on money they save for higher education, revolved around the degree to which those accounts disproportionately benefit the wealthy. People who supported ending the tax break pointed out that the median income of families who use it is three times that of families that don't. ... How can we expect to fight inequality if we're unwilling to close loopholes that tilt toward the wealthy? If this program was too dear to the hearts of the upper middle class to consider cutting, can anyone name one that isn't? And what good is talking about inequality if we won't surrender programs that exacerbate it?" Bloomberg View.