American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)
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Special Updates e-Reports from the American Holistic Health Association with items of interest to those actively enhancing their health and well-being are periodically sent out to e-mail addresses provided by the individual or organization. AHHA President, Suzan Walter, is the Editor. You can have these Special Updates sent to you personally by signing up online.


Special Updates Archives for 2013

December 13, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Stay mentally sharp
A tasty, healthy diet can enhanced your good health. A recent study suggests that people who consistently eat a Mediterranean diet may have a reduced risk for stoke, depression, and cognitive impairment. You and your nutritionist might find it valuable to review the details in this article, "Mediterranean Diet Linked to Reduced Cognitive Decline" in the November 2013 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Flame-retardants more dangerous than fire
Are you aware of the danger in the flame-retardant chemicals in the furniture you use every day? These chemicals migrate into the dust in your home and are ingested by every being that lives there. It's estimated that ninety percent of Americans have some level of flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies, and toddlers often have up to three times the level as their parents.

Why is this a concern? Various researchers report that flame retardant chemicals used in furniture have been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, lower IQ scores, thyroid disease, and other health impacts. Most notable, firefighters have higher rates of cancer partly because of the high levels of toxins they're exposed to when flame-retardant chemicals burn.

These toxic chemicals are in furniture thanks to regulations in the State of California, but the furniture products are not required to name these chemicals on their labels. The good news is that the regulations were just modified to reduce this problem. The bad news is that the law does not take effect until January 1, 2015, and it doesn't ban the chemicals outright.

Now that you are alerted to this hazard, you have a choice in how you respond. Possible options include (1) searching for all-natural products (there are a few) that don't contain these chemicals, (2) supporting advocacy groups working to speed up enforcement, or (3) just ignoring the entire matter.

ISSUE: How will you respond to the dangers of flame-retardant chemicals in furniture, clothing, children's safety seats, etc.?

AHHA strives to maintain a neutral position on issues. To support those interested in learning more about this matter, we offer the recent online articles presented below as a convenient way to begin your research.

Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals No Longer? New California Regulation Enables Fire Safety Without Toxic Flame Retardants (11/21/13)
Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety

Key Flame Retardant Law is About to Change - Updated (11/6/13)
by Bill Webb
I Read Labels For You

How safe are flame retardants? (Feb 2013)
ConsumerReports.org

Assembly Bill No. 127: An act to add Section 13108.1 to the Health and Safety Code, relating to fire safety. (Approved by Governor 10/5/13)
California Legislative Information

8 Sickening Facts about Flame Retardants (12/10/13)
by Dr. Mercola
Mercola.com Take Control of Your Health

EPA to Review Flame Retardants (4/1/13)
Environmental Leader

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and post your comments. Also, please tell us and your friends about additional resources you have found related to this important health issue.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Gift of knowledge
Are you looking for a special holiday gift to motivate a loved one to get more involved in his/her quality of wellness? AHHA members have written a number of books (and created CDs and DVDs) filled with health tips. You can check these out at Health-related Books, CDs, DVDs... and the Books/ Other Media section of the AHHA Organizational Member list.


November 8, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Vitamins save lives
A recent study shows that older women who contracted invasive breast cancer had a greater life expectancy if they were taking (and continued to take) multiple vitamins. Good nutrition is indeed an important part of your healing journey. You and your physician can review study details in the article, "Multivitamins May Reduce Risk of Death from Breast Cancer" in the October 2013 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
100 countries recognize the dangers of mercury
In October 2013, one hundred countries from around the world came together to sign a treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. But why are there mixed feelings about this? The Minamatea Convention treaty is a mixture of legal and voluntary measures and, though it cuts mercury emissions from some mining and industrial complexes, it also includes many exceptions that allow mercury to continue to be used in vaccines, dental fillings, and cosmetics. Consumers beware.

ISSUE: Mercury is now internationally acknowledged to be dangerous for humans, yet it continues being allowed to be used in things used by the general public.

For those who are interested in eliminating mercury from their life, AHHA has selected a number of current online articles related to the Minamata Convention terms and to help you learn how to look out for unlabeled products containing mercury.

Diplomatic Conference for the Minamata Convention on Mercury
United Nations Environment Programme

Minamata Convention: Mercury solution or just politics? (1/31/13)
by Britnae Purdy
First Peoples Worldwide

The Minamata Convention: 12 things it does (or doesn't do) (10/10/13)
Environmental Health News

UN Treaty Bans Mercury! Well, Except in Mascara and Vaccines... (10/30/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Minamata mercury treaty finds skeptics (10/7/13)
by Eric Johnston
The Japan Times

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and post your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important health issue.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Weekly inspiration
It is important to be self-sufficient during these challenging times. One positive step you can take is to assume more responsibility for the every-day actions you take that impact the quality of your health. AHHA has an online collection of Self-Help Articles that present a multitude of ideas you can consider incorporating into your daily life. Making just one simple change in your daily routine can raise your level of wellness. Why not check out the articles and be inspired?

AHHA offers ongoing weekly inspiration. Go to Free Stuff and sign up to receive weekly eAlerts with the Featured Article of the Week and the Featured Video of the Week.


October 18, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Lower blood sugar naturally
A new study shows that researchers have found that a natural compound found in more than seventy plant species, including nuts, grapes, and pine trees, as well as in red wine, may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Study participants who received one gram of this compound, resveratrol, daily had significantly lower blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin resistance than those who received the placebo. You and your physician can review study details in the article, "Resveratrol May Lower Blood Sugar" in the September 2013 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Codex threat increasing?
Twelve years ago, AHHA became aware of, researched, and started educating you about the potential threat of the Codex Alimentarius (International Food Code) in general and the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements in particular. At that time, the generally held belief was that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) assured consumers in the U.S. that their rights to a broad array of dietary supplements were protected within the borders of this country.

Now, in 2013, a number of health freedom groups are alerting us that the U.S. government is talking about trade agreements that would harmonize our U.S. dietary supplement regulations with those of the Codex Alimentarius, which would remove the DSHEA protection.

Why are some concerned about this? The Codex Guidelines follow the European dietary supplement regulations that only allow a limited number of supplements, and those at very low levels of dosage. Otherwise, the supplements are banned or required to be regulated as expensive drugs.

If you use dietary supplements in your health enhancement program, you will want to be knowledgeable about Codex harmonization. You might start by checking out our historical archives at http://ahha.org/codex.htm that tracks the early development of the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements.

AHHA has selected a few current online articles to help you learn about what is happening in 2013, and decide if you are comfortable with these developments or if you feel they threaten your DSHEA rights.

ISSUE: The impact of the Codex Alimentarius on consumer rights to dietary supplements in the U.S.

PRO
International Standard-Setting Activities (6/21/13)
Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States Government
Notice by Department of Agriculture and Food Safety and Inspection Service

Responses to Questions about Codex and Dietary Supplements (updated 8/19/13)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Codex's Influence Grows with International Food Supplement Regulators (7/2/13)
Nutraceuticals World

CON
A New Front Opens in the Battle to Protect Health Choice in the US (10/1/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

EPA Documents Show U.S. Goal to Harmonize with Codex Alimentarius (7/29/13)
by Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Here We Go Once Again (6/30/13)
by Bill Sardi
National Health Federation

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and post your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important health issue.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Find a progressive physician
Are you searching for a medical doctor who delivers care by using more than just drugs and surgery? Checking referral programs with holistic associations is a good way to start. But if this does not help you locate someone in your geographic area, our Practitioner Referral Sources list is a useful next step. Our list includes a wide variety of organizations that give referrals, many of which are exclusively for medical doctors. Physicians who are affiliated with the organizations on our list are definitely the open-minded, progressive ones who have gone beyond drugs and surgery. Where else but with AHHA can you zero in to identify so many of these special physicians so easily?


September 13, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
High cholesterol?
If you need to lower your cholesterol, a recent study offers red yeast rice extract as a non-drug option. You and your physician can review details in the article, "Red Yeast Rice May Lower Cholesterol" in the August 2013 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Who owns your genes?
A lawsuit was filed in 2009 against Myriad Genetics disputing their patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which indicate a predisposition to breast cancer. On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that naturally occurring genes cannot be patented. Myriad Genetics seemed to have lost their advantage to exclusively offer a test that costs a patient about $4,000 to see if she has the BRCA genes. One comment on the court ruling said that this "means all genetic tests will become affordable and more researchers will be able to look for cures." As expected, other labs promptly started offering a test for the BRCA genes for much lower prices. And immediately Myriad Genetics sued these companies for offering this test, citing a loophole based on auxiliary patents that the Supreme Court had not specifically ruled on. The companies wanting to provide women this testing at a reasonable price now face expensive legal costs to protect the rights of every individual to access their own generic information with any provider. Some critics offer the opinion that Myriad aims to tie up competitors in litigation until its BRAC patents begin to expire in 2015.

ISSUE: Patients' rights to gene testing at reasonable costs

AHHA aims to remain impartial. For this issue we present articles in date sequence to show you what is unfolding. We hope that this assists you in tracking developments and understanding the impact it might have on you and your loved ones related to this and other genes.

After Patent Ruling, Availability of Gene Tests Could Broaden (6/13/13)
by Andrew Pollack
The New York Times

Senator Leahy Urges NIH to Use March-In Rights on Myriad BRCA Test (7/17/13)
by Donald Zuhn
Patent Docs

Ambry Genetics countersues Myriad Genetics in BRCA testing fight (8/12/13)
The Pathology Blawg

The Genes You Can't Patent (Sept 2013)
by Daniel J. Kevles
The New York Review of Books

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and post your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important health issue.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
It's more than just not being sick
Have you checked out the three special portal boxes at the top of the AHHA website’s home page? We invite you to visit the Healthy? Portal box (currently labeled Resources to Support enhancing your health). Take a brief, intimate journey to connect with our key resources appropriate for those who are not sick but also know there is lots of room for achieving a higher level of wellness.


August 16, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Nuts prevent death!
Increasing the number of nuts (like walnuts and almonds) you eat can add more essential fatty acids, unsaturated fat, and protein, without adding cholesterol to your diet. Researchers say eating nuts will decrease your chances of developing fatal heart disease. You and your physician can review more details in the article, "Eating More Nuts May Reduce Risk of Death" in the July 2013 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Autism cause?
The relationship between autism and the MMR immunization vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (also called German measles) is back in the news this summer. You will be reading about two widely divergent positions. One is that the MMR vaccine is safe, the other, that MMR vaccine has dangerous side effects for many children. Parents must decide which position they believe.

ISSUE: MMR vaccine safety

For AHHA to remain impartial, we present online articles with both PRO and CON views of the issue of the month. We encourage you to take the time to do your own research and determine what is right for you and your loved ones.

PRO
Understanding MMR Vaccine Safety (February 2013)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MMR Vaccine and Autism: What Parents Need to Know (8/7/13)
HealthyChildren.org

New 2013 MMR vaccination recommendations from the CDC! (6/24/13)
The Bolus

CON
Courts quietly confirm MMR Vaccine causes Autism (7/27/13)
Whiteout Press

Dr Wakefield: Govt. experts have conceded that MMR vaccine caused autism (4/17/13)
Hear the Refusers

Italian Court Reignites MMR Vaccine Debate After Award Over Child with Autism (6/25/13)
Mercola.com

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and post your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important health issue.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Innovative wellness-enhancing product
There are many exciting products available to support your journey to a higher level of wellness. The PRODUCTS section of the AHHA Organizational Member list is a wonderful resource for discovering new options.


July 12, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Music can be calming
Appropriately selected music can have a calming or sedating effect. A recent study has found that if you are anxious about a medical procedure, listening to soft, melodic music (but not hard rock or rap) may help you be less anxious. The calming effects of music might also help you reduce the amount of sedation you need. Consider how you might adapt this effect for other situations in your life when you need to remain calm and focused. For more details to research for yourself and/or to discuss with your physician, check out the article, "Music Therapy for Reduced Anxiety, Use of Sedatives" in the June, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Will chicken be safe to eat in the future?
Is it important to you that the chicken you buy is clean and free of illness-causing pathogens? The U.S. Department of Agriculture is close to finalizing new poultry inspection procedures that will significantly change how poultry is slaughtered and prepared for consumption. Reviewing the many articles online about the impact of the proposed poultry inspection changes uncovers very conflicting information and viewpoints. The following lists and online articles have been compiled to assist you as you try to understand and evaluate the changes that are scheduled to be implemented in late 2014.

The government touts the following positives about the proposed new poultry inspection program:

  • People will have an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 fewer food borne illnesses per year.
  • Taxpayers will benefit from the U.S. government's saving millions of dollars by reducing the number of government inspectors on staff. The current four inspectors on a line will be reduced to one.
  • The focus of government inspections will change from quality control to safety.
  • A pilot program with the new procedures has been in effect in 20 plants since 1999.
  • Companies can reduce their production costs with the allowed increase in production line speed to 200 birds per minute.
  • Government reports state that employee safety records improved in plants using pilot program.

Consumer and worker advocates point out the following negatives about the new proposed poultry inspection program:

  • These huge government cost savings are achieved by transferring responsibility for quality control/ visual inspection to the company's employees, who are not required to be trained.
  • Results of the pilot program show that defective (diseased or contaminated) birds in production lines are overlooked at extremely high rates.
  • Government inspectors will be located only at the end of the production line, which means they will have only one chance to spot diseased birds and fecal contamination.
  • Safety relies from spraying more and stronger chemicals on the poultry carcasses.
  • New procedures for industry-wide application of the new poultry inspection program do not include testing to assure that the chemicals are killing all of the pathogens.
  • Safety results of pilot program chemical spraying were not as good as claimed, as salmonella testing actually failed 10 percent of the time.
  • Chemicals used to kill pathogens impact workers and consumers.
  • Although inspectors are getting sick from exposure to the chemicals, the government evaluations do not address the health negatives that accompany increasing the use of chemicals
  • Chickens that are not clean (fecal matter in the bird cavity) will be considered okay because they are "sanitized" with chemicals.
  • New procedures that allow the speed of the production line to be increased to 200 birds per minute, make it difficult to effectively examine birds for defects.
  • This higher speed of the production line in the pilot program actually resulted in more employee injuries.
  • Only 20 to 80 birds out of every 10,000 carcasses will be randomly selected to test for defects.

ISSUE: Come 2014, will you be comfortable buying chicken processed according to the proposed new poultry inspection program?
For AHHA to remain impartial, you are offered both PRO and CON online articles related to the issue of the month.

PRO
USDA still reviewing poultry modernization rule (6/13/13)
by Jacqui Fatka
Feedstuffs

USDA's Poultry Inspection Proposal: Separating Myth vs. Fact (4/14/13)
National Chicken Council

Evaluation of HACCP Inspection Models Project (August 2011)
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food safety and Inspection Service

CON
USDA's Poultry Proposal Endangers Eaters, Not Just Employees (5/21/13)
by Sarah Klein
Food Safety News

USDA Wants Fewer Poultry Inspectors-But More Chemicals (7/2/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

USDA to Streamline Poultry Inspection Despite 'Critical Issues' (5/7/13)
by Conan Milner
Epoch Times

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Power of Choice now also in Spanish
AHHA is strong in reminding you of the power of the decisions you make each day. Our booklet,Wellness From Within: The First Step, is a key resource for sharing this message. This booklet is offered for you in a variety of options online (including MP3 format) and now in a Spanish version.


June 14, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Relief from Crohn's Disease
Do you know someone with Crohn's disease or other gastrointestinal conditions? Alert them to new research that shows how symptoms can be relieved with Vitamin D supplements. They might want to share with their physician the article, "Vitamin D Supplementation May Reduce Crohn's Disease Symptoms" in the May, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Fluoride on the Way Out?
Is the tide turning in the controversy around fluoride in public drinking water? For over six decades organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, the American Dental Association, and the American Medical Association have linked fluoridation of drinking water with preventing dental decay.

Opponents have pointed out that the substance is a toxic pollutant linked to several health problems. Fluorosis, discoloring of teeth from over-exposure to fluoride, is now documented. New science insists only direct application of fluoride to teeth prevents dental decay.

This month the citizens of Portland, Oregon forced the city to stop adding fluoride to their drinking water. This is not an isolated incident.

ISSUE: Is fluoridation of drinking water safe and beneficial?

To help you research this issue, we have compiled the following online articles:
PRO
Fluoride & Fluoridation
American Dental Association (ADA)

U.S. Surgeon General Endorses Water Fluoridation (4/26/13)
by Billy Tarpley
Arkansas State Dental Association

Community Water Fluoridation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CON
Portland, Oregon Votes NO on Water Fluoridation (6/4/13)
by Dr. Mercola
Mercola.com

How is Fluoride Affecting Springville Citizens' Health? (6/3/13)
FluorideAlert.org

Community members argue against fluoridation in front of packed hours (5/24/13)
by Tom Sakash
The Davis Enterprise: Yolo County News (in California)

We encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
What did I miss?
If you are a new subscriber to our monthly AHHA Special Updates eReports, you may be wondering what you've missed in earlier updates. Check out the AHHA Special Updates eReport Archives and read more interesting research and reminders of matters about which we all need to be vigilant.


May 10, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Eat your veggies!
Research is confirming your mom's advice to eat your vegetables. The study found those who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grain cereals, legumes, and nuts have a much higher chance of having a healthy heart thanks to the high levels of antioxidants in this diet. More details in the article, "Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Lower Heart Failure Risk" in the April, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Threat to compounding?
There are special compounding pharmacies that make ("compound") medications without prescriptions that your physicians can buy and keep for future use. These medications are often less expensive versions of very expensive prescriptions drugs. In 2012, poor quality control by one compounding pharmacy led to the contamination of a compounded medication that resulted in more than 50 deaths. Despite many complaints against this pharmacy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conceded that their lack of oversight action contributed to the unsanitary conditions at the compounding pharmacy that allowed the medication to be contaminated. But instead of finding a way for the FDA to do a better job in monitoring compounding pharmacies and leaving regulation to state pharmacy boards, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has taken the position that they need to make things safer by giving the FDA the power to regulate all large compounding pharmacies and the medications they make. This bill would divide compounding pharmacies into two categories. Pharmacies that make customized compounded medications for patients at the direction of their physicians which would remain supervised by state pharmacy boards, whereas the other pharmacies would become a new class of drug makers for products to be kept by physicians for future use. This second group would be controlled by the FDA.

Those who oppose the Senate committee's draft legislation, released April 26, claim that the unannounced agenda is to enable the FDA to entirely remove competing compounded medications from the marketplace and force patients to use more expensive patented drugs.

ISSUE: Is giving the FDA more power over compounding pharmacies the answer to making safer compounded medications?

To help you research this matter, we have compiled the following online articles:

PRO
Draft bill gives FDA authority over some pharmacies (4/26/13)
by Toni Clarke
Reuters

FDA chief vows to get 'aggressive' with compounding pharmacies (4/16/13)
by Monte Morin
Los Angeles Times

CON
Don't Empower the FDA to Take Away Your Access to Compounded Medications (5/7/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

GOP lawmakers balk at giving FDA more authority over compounding pharmacies (4/16/13)
by Jonathan Block
ModernHealthcare.com

We also encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Change a life
AHHA offers a single sheet that introduces the powerful concept of the "holistic approach." It's available for free! Check out our "Gift for a Better Life". Who do you know who could benefit from receiving a copy of this sheet? Download it, print it out double-sided, share it with a friend, and empower that friend's life. We now also offer a version in Spanish.


April 12, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Essential iron
If you are one of the forty percent of menstruating women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, a recent research study may be of interest to you. "High Iron Intake Linked to Reduced PMS Risk" in the March, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter presents the value of adding higher amounts of iron to your diet and supplements.

FEATURED ISSUE
Toxic meat preservatives
Starting May 6, 2013, the meat industry has permission from the U.S. government to use toxic meat preservatives (sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid) to preserve and treat meat and poultry products. These preservatives were previously banned. How did this happen? Major companies did their own studies showing these preservatives were safe, and successfully lobbied the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Opponents claim that the company studies are flawed and that the real aim for using these preservatives is to cover up tainted meat.

ISSUE: Are you comfortable with sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid in your meat and poultry products?

To help you research this matter, we have compiled the following online articles:

PRO
Food Ingredients and Sources of Radiation Listed and Approved for Use in the Production of Meat and Poultry Products (3/7/13)
Federal Register Volume 78, Number 45/ U.S. Department of Agriculture

FDA Approves Three Meat Preservatives (3/12/13)
by Philip A. Janquart
Courthouse News Service

USDA OKs Sodium Benzoate, Other Food Preservatives (3/12/13)
by Carla Gillespie
Food Poisoning Bulletin

CON
USDA Approves 3 Dangerous Food Preservatives for Meat and Poultry (4/8/13)
Before it's News

USDA caves to food industry pressures, approves three new toxic meat preservatives (4/5/13)
by Ethan A. Huff
Health Freedom Natural News

The WAR on meat pathogens: sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, benzoic acid legal for rotting meat cover up! (4/5/13)
Health Ranger Update

We also encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
How do YOU define "holistic"?
Have you discovered that others are not defining the term "holistic" the same way you do? AHHA has always recommended that when you're talking about holistic concepts, it's wise to define terms and make sure you and the person you are talking to are on the same page. AHHA offers articles on this vital topic. See What is Holistic? Perhaps these articles will help you clarify your own thinking.


March 15, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Reducing autism risk
The first three months of a developing fetus are significantly impacted by the nutrition of the mother. For this reason, women hoping to become pregnant have been urged to be sure they have folic acid in their diet. The list of reasons for this just gained a new, important item. A recent study shows the correlation between low folic acid and the risk of autism in the child. Details about this study are in "Maternal Folic Acid Supplementation May Reduce Autism Risk" in the February, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
GMO winning again?
The U.S. Senate is debating the Continuing Resolution appropriations bill that must be passed by March 27 to continue government funding. Special interests often try to take advantage of this type of must-pass bill to add unrelated amendments or provisions that would have a difficult time getting passed if they were under the close inspection a regular bill usually gets. A number of groups who typically speak out against genetically engineered (GE) crops [also known as genetically modified organisms (GMO)] are sending out notices this week to alert the general public that the Senate Appropriations Committee added just such an unrelated provision, Section 735, to the Senate Continuing Resolution bill. This provision, which is labeled "farmer assurance provision," would strip the rights of federal courts to halt the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops during the legal appeals process while the USDA is performing an environmental impact statement. If this Section 735 provision stays attached to this bill, the biotech industry, including giant Monsanto, would be able to plant GE crops at will. The public and government would be virtually powerless to stop GE crop.

The Senate appropriations bill will go to a conference committee to negotiate a compromise between its bill and the corresponding House appropriations bill and resolve differences. However, the anti-GE advocacy groups feel the Section 735 provision must be pulled completely out of the Senate bill. The U.S. House of Representatives left a similar provision in its House Agricultural Appropriations Bill last summer under similar conditions, so there is no expectation that the conference committee would remove this provision.

ISSUE: Is it right to prevent the judicial system from due process of evaluating genetic engineering crop impact?

Below are a few resources to assist you in doing your own research in this very complex matter.

Senate Poised to Pass Continuing Resolution This Week (3/13/13)
By Lauren Fox
US News
Explains the Continuing Resolution bill, but makes no mention of Section 735.

House Watching for "Poison Pills" as Senate Turns to Continuing Resolution (3/13/13)
By Kerry Young and Alan K. Ota
Roll Call
Notes amendment process

URGENT! Stop the Monsanto Rider in the Senate! (3/13/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA
Presents anti-GMO point-of-view

Stop the Monsanto Protection Act!
Food Democracy Now!
Plea for public action to ask Senate to pull rider

We also encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and tell others about additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Quench your thirst for knowledge
AHHA members offer an interesting variety of self-help options. This month we feature options that offer you personal educational opportunities for self-improvement and life enrichment. Check out the Education-Personal category on the AHHA Organizational Member searchable database. There are online and in-person courses and seminars, plus publications. Which ones intrigue you?


February 8, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Tomato a Day
If you're concerned about lowering your risk of heart disease risk, check out the results of a ten-year study addressing the health benefits of lycopene from tomatoes and tomato-based products. Details about this study are in "Lycopene Consumption Linked to Lower Heart Disease Risk" in the January, 2013, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Allergic?
Allergic reactions to foods range from mild to death. For those with severe reactions, not knowing what is in their food can be a life threatening matter. Since 2006 there has been a government regulation mandating that the labels of foods containing eight major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy) declare the allergen in plain language.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently revising food allergen thresholds that would trigger this requirement and has issued an invitation for input. The original February 12, 2013 deadline has been extended to May 13, 2013. If this matter affects you or a loved one, you still have time to research what is happening (or not happening) and submit your input to the FDA.

Why should you care? A key consideration for regulation changes appears to be whether or not an ingredient causes "an allergic response that poses a risk to human health." Manufacturers are lobbying to reduce restrictions. People with food allergies want to maintain what is already in place and expand the regulations to include ingredients, like gluten, which may not cause death but can damage internal organs. (It is interesting to note that Congress has instructed the FDA to add gluten to the list of major food allergens; this appears to not be happening.)

ISSUE: Is the issue really defining what is a limit that does not pose a "risk to human health"?

Below are a few resources to assist you in doing your own research in this very complex matter.

Current regulation that went into effect January 1, 2006:
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-282, Title II)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

FDA Request for Comments:
Request for Comments and Information on Initiating a Risk Assessment for Establishing Food Allergen Thresholds; Establishment of Docket (12/14/12)
Federal Register

Notice for extension of deadline for submitting comments:
Request for Comments and Information on Initiating a Risk Assessment for Establishing Food Allergen Thresholds; Establishment of Docket; Extension of Comment Period (1/30/13)
Food and Drug Administration

Explaining threshold levels:
FDA Requests Input on Allergen Threshold Levels (12/14/12)
by Linda Larsen
Food Poisoning Bulletin

Discussing exemptions and listing what FDA wants comments on:
F.D.A. considering food allergen thresholds (12/27/12)
by Jay Sjerven
Food Business News

Concern about not adding gluten to the list of allergens:
FDA Again Ignores Instructions from Congress (1/29/13)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Other concerns:
Watch Out for Undeclared Food Allergens (12/11/12)
by Christine Chiao
First We Feast

We also encourage you to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Personal healthcare team?
Whether your team is one individual or a diverse group of practitioners, the ideal team is one in which you and your physicians and other healthcare professionals function as partners and everyone espouses a holistic (whole person) approach to creating optimal wellness. If this isn't happening in your case, consider making some changes. A great place to start your search is the AHHA Practitioner Member list.


January 11, 2013

FEATURED RESEARCH
Fat vs. Lean
We who have made losing weight our new year's resolution have new options. Current research documents the benefits of aerobic exercise for those aiming for less fat mass and resistance training for a lean body mass. Details about this study are in the article, "Aerobic Exercise May Benefit Weight Loss More Than Resistance Training" in the December, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Why!
The horrific shooting deaths in Newtown, CT, in December, 2012, impacted us all. We will never know the real root cause of this tragedy, but it is interesting to note the many different theories. Part of our healing process may be to consider possible causes for mass shootings and what we might wish to do differently in the future so that something positive can come out of this.

AHHA has compiled a variety of reactions. Do any of these resonate with you?
ISSUE: What is your reaction? Will you be doing anything different now?

Special Note: From Dr. Amen about Newtown Tragedy (12/19/12)
Dr. Amen's Blog

Run, Hide, Fight - Surviving When the Worst Happens (12/18/12)
by Bernie Siegel

Newtown shooting demands we consider our "call of duty" as parents (1/2/13)
by Maureen Downey
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

School Shootings: By-Product of An Emotionally and Spiritually Bankrupt Nation
by Daria M. Brezinski, PhD

Newtown Tragedy: Push for Mental Health Reform (12/20/12)
by Mike Fitzpatrick
National Alliance on Mental Illness Blog

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Considering a career change?
AHHA Organizational Members offer health-related products, services, and educational opportunities. The category Education-Professional has a list of educational institutions appropriate for individuals considering a career in the healthcare field. Check here to check things out.


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