Summary: Heavy metal music may have a bad reputation, but a new study reveals the music has positive mental health benefits for its fans.
Source: The Conversation
Due to its extreme sound and aggressive lyrics, heavy metal music is often associated with controversy. Among the genre’s most contentious moments, there have been instances of blasphemous merchandise, accusations of promoting suicide and blame for mass school shootings. Why, then, if it’s so “bad”, do so many people enjoy it? And does this music genre really have a negative effect on them?
There are many reasons why people align themselves with genres of music. It may be to feel a sense of belonging, because they enjoy the sound, identify with the lyrical themes, or want to look and act a certain way. For me, as a quiet, introverted teenager, my love of heavy metal was probably a way to feel a little bit different to most people in my school who liked popular music and gain some internal confidence. Plus, I loved the sound of it.
I first began to listen to heavy metal when I was 14 or 15 years old when my uncle recorded a ZZ Top album for me and I heard singles by AC/DC and Bon Jovi. After that, I voraciously read music magazines Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Metal Forces, and RAW, and checked out as many back catalogs of artists as I could. I also grew my hair (yes, I had a mullet … twice), wore a denim jacket with patches (thanks mum), and attended numerous concerts by established artists like Metallica and The Wildhearts, as well as local Bristol bands like Frozen Food.
Over the years, there has been much research into the effects of heavy metal. I have used it as one of the conditions in my own studies exploring the impact of sound on performance. More specifically, I have used thrash metal (a fast and aggressive sub-genre of heavy metal) to compare music our participants liked and disliked (with metal being the music the did not enjoy). This research showed that listening to music you dislike, compared to music that you like, can impair spatial rotation (the ability to mentally rotate objects in your mind), and both liked and disliked music are equally damaging to short-term memory performance.
Other researchers have studied more specifically why people listen to heavy metal, and whether it influences subsequent behavior. For people who are not fans of heavy metal, listening to the music seems to have a negative impact on well-being. In one study, non-fans who listened to classical music, heavy metal, self-selected music, or sat in silence following a stressor, experienced greater anxiety after listening to heavy metal. Listening to the other music or sitting in silence, meanwhile, showed a decrease in anxiety. Interestingly heart rate and respiration decreased over time for all conditions.
Metalheads and headbangers
Looking further into the differences between heavy metal fans and non-fans, research has shown that fans tend to be more open to new experiences, which manifests itself in preferring music that is intense, complex, and unconventional, alongside a negative attitude towards institutional authority. Some do have lower levels of self-esteem, however, and a need for uniqueness.
One might conclude that this and other negative behaviors are the results of listening to heavy metal, but the same research suggests that it may be that listening to music is cathartic. Late adolescent/early adult fans also tend to have higher levels of depression and anxiety but it is not known whether the music attracts people with these characteristics or causes them.
Heavy metal has positive effects on fans of all ages. The image is adapted from The Conversation news release.
Despite the often violent lyrical content in some heavy metal songs, recently published research has shown that fans do not become sensitized to violence, which casts doubt on the previously assumed negative effects of long-term exposure to such music. Indeed, studies have shown long-terms fans were happier in their youth and better adjusted in middle age compared to their non-fan counterparts. Another finding that fans who were made angry and then listened to heavy metal music did not increase their anger but increased their positive emotions suggests that listening to extreme music represents a healthy and functional way of processing anger.
Other investigations have made rather unusual findings on the effects of heavy metal. For example, you might not want to put someone in charge of adding hot sauce to your food after listening to the music, as a study showed that participants added more to a person’s cup of water after listening to heavy metal than when listening to nothing at all.
Finally, heavy metal can promote scientific thinking but alas not just by listening to it. Educators can promote scientific thinking by posing claims such as listening to certain genres of music is associated with violent thinking. By examining the aforementioned accusations of violence and offense – which involved world-famous artists like Cradle of Filth, Ozzy Osbourne, and Marilyn Manson – students can engage in scientific thinking, exploring logical fallacies, research design issues, and thinking biases.
So, you beautiful people, whether you’re heading out to the highway to hell or the stairway to heaven, walk this way. Metal can make you feel like nothing else matters. It’s so easy to blow your speakers and shout it out loud. Dig!
About this neuroscience research article
Source: The Conversation Media Contacts: Nick Perham – The Conversation Image Source: The image is adapted from The Conversation news release.
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I don’t try to make bad choices. Really, I don’t. In fact, I don’t think most people set out to do make them either. I think we all end up in a place we hoped not to be and in retrospect say, well, that was probably a bad idea.
Such was my life this past week when I found myself sitting in an orthodontist’s office being handed an estimate for approximately $8,000 (for Invisalign, I don’t want more braces, of which $3,500 would be covered by my insurance), that would essentially correct (or finish) the job I assumed was completed when I paid $4,000 to get my teefus fixed back in 2012. As sad as it is that if I have to pay all over again, how we got to this point is so much dumber than you can possibly imagine.
It all started in 2007 when I told my then-dentist I wanted braces. In order to do so, I was going to have to get my wisdom teeth removed, so I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed at the same time. Can we talk about that for a minute? Yes, let’s. If you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you know they can do general (put you out) or local (numb your mouth) anesthesia. Because all of my wisdom teeth were erupted, they opted for local anesthesia. This is where I learned about how my body responds to numbing agents and pain killers. Basically, it doesn’t. My mouth was numb for a solid 10 minutes before I started to feel the orthodontist literally breaking my teeth in half with some pliers.
Nigga. I cried so hard. It hurt so much, but I made it through thinking that I’d get some pain killers and be high off my gourd for the next week. First, they prescribed me Vicodin. It didn’t work. Then Percocet. Which also didn’t work. Literally, my body didn’t respond to pain killers AT ALL. I pretty much had to wait out the pain in the fetal position on my couch at home for a week and some change. After that experience, I put braces out of my mind, because short of checkups, I didn’t want anything unnecessary done to my teeth.
But then (and we’re about to get to the shenanigans now), while riding around in my car in 2011, I heard a commercial for braces and I said to myself, “P, you should get braces.” There was some number to call, so I called it. And it led me to a dentist’s office in Maryland. Well, I live in Washington, D.C., so that made sense. I scheduled an appointment and showed up for my consultation. And no lie when I tell you I was so dumbfounded at this office: the dentist was a black man but his entire office looked like a Pitbull video shoot. I was in an office full of some of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. And they all worked there. As far as medical office spaces go, it might as well have been heaven.
I even remember calling a few of the homies to be like, “If you need a dentist, THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO BE!” I got my consultation and was told the braces would run me $4,000, and I’d walk away with pristine pearly whites. And all of the work would be handled in-house. And I should just come to them for regular dental services. Cool. SIGN ME UP.
That’s where it started going downhill. For one, while I thought the office was unreal, it was easily the most inappropriate office I’d ever been in. The dental assistants were a little too friendly and familiar. I’m not saying it was a happy endings spot or anything, I’m just saying the folks who worked there were super comfortable in ways that I’m not sure are…appropriate. Well, I got my braces and paid the cost to be the boss. Once that was done, and because my insurance changed, that office was no longer an option. Which made me sad, but I also figured that one complaint might take that office off the map anyway, so perhaps it was just time to move on.
I had permanent retainers on the back of my teeth and recently, the retainers on the back of my top row snapped. Because I could feel my teeth almost immediately start to shift, I found an orthodontist and scheduled an appointment the same way I found any new doctors: I checked the list of folks who would accept my insurance and looked for the black folks.
I went in for an appointment, and in the nicest possible way (and without professionally shitting on her fellow unnamed dentist), the orthodontist was like, “Yeah, your teeth ain’t supposed to do what they’re doing, ever, but since I wasn’t there in the first place, I’m not sure if this is accidental or intentional.” You can imagine how hard I clutched my pearls since I JUST got my braces off in 2012. I asked if she was saying the other dentist fucked up my teeth but made it look like the job was done and she would neither confirm nor deny this. I told her that’s what I get for staying at an office because everybody looks like J.Lo.
In order to address and correct the issue, the estimate came back a cool $8,000 strong. I’d feel dumb not getting them fixed since that was a decision I made in the first place and my teeth would just start crip walking again. Mildly, but a crip walk is a crip walk. But I can’t help but thinking I got got by a dentist’s office that didn’t feel right and stuck me for $4,000 out of pocket. And my teeth aren’t terrible, but the new ortho noticed some things that she had various curiosities about.
And it all takes me back to the fact that I seriously picked an office for braces based on a radio ad.
The moral of the story: Don’t pick dentist offices based on radio ads.
A sheriff’s department in Washington state shared a story about an elderly man who killed his ailing wife and then himself, apparently because they did not have enough money to pay for medical care. The devastating story was shared on the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and has gone viral.
A 77-year-old man called 911 and told the dispatcher, “I’m going to kill myself,” according to the sheriff’s department. He indicated he had prepared a note with instructions and the dispatcher tried to keep him on the line, with no success. The man disconnected the call, and when deputies arrived at the house, they sent a robot mounted camera inside.
Both the man and his wife were found dead by gunshot wounds. Detectives are investigating it as a likely murder-suicide.
Murder / Suicide near Ferndale
At 0823 hours this morning deputies responded to the 6500 block of Timmeran Lane near…
“Several notes were left citing severe ongoing medical problems with the wife and expressing concerns that the couple did not have sufficient resources to pay for medical care,” the sheriffs department’s post reads. “Next of kin information was left in a note and detectives are working with out of state law enforcement to notify the next of kin.”
The identity of the couple has not been released. Their two dogs were brought to the Human Society for care. Several firearms were also impounded.
“It is very tragic that one of our senior citizens would find himself in such desperate circumstances where he felt murder and suicide were the only option,” Sheriff Bill Elfo said, according to the post. “Help is always available with a call to 9-1-1.”
Americans spend more on health care than citizens of any other country, and that gap is projected to widen. Health care spending is expected to consume almost 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product by 2027, according to a recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Suicide rates have increased among all age groups in the U.S. between 2008 and 2017, including those age 65 and over.
How to get help for yourself or a loved one
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or thinking about suicide, talk to someone who can help, such as a trusted loved one, your doctor, your licensed mental health professional if you already have one, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
If you believe your loved one or friend is at risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help from a doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department or dial 911. It’s important to remove access to firearms, medications, or any other potential tools they might use to harm themselves.
For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.
The dental trio of Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, Dr. Ashley Olson and Dr. Ryan Hoffman comprise one of the largest dental practices in La Jolla — in both number of dentists and office space.
Recently, they expanded their hours to make their comprehensive dentistry services more convenient for their patients. Now, the La Jolla Dentistry office is open Monday and Wednesday evenings, and also on Saturdays, which is quite unusual for a dental practice.
Dr. Ryan Hoffman, who joined the team almost two years ago, told the Light that accommodating the lives of their busy patients is important. “In addition to the technology and all the services we provide, the convenience of coming here is key for working families with children in school, or for college students with strict schedules.”
The D’Angelo, Olson, Hoffman dental office has been located at 1111 Torrey Pines Road since 2004, when Dr. D’Angelo ran a solo practice. “I started out with one or two treatment rooms and gradually doubled in size,” he said. “Then, we doubled again. We have 10 treatment rooms now, and we’ve increased the types of services we provide.”
He said the office is fully equipped to handle just about any dental concern — from implants to veneers, gum recontouring, cosmetic and restorative dentistry, and Invisalign treatments.
Dr. Olson, who joined Dr. D’Angelo seven years ago, noted: “We are continually evolving technology in our office so it gives us added tools to provide exceptional care.”
The philosophy of providing impeccable care permeates throughout the staff, and Dr. D’Angelo is proud of creating such a culture. The office space has a warm and welcoming feel and the treatment rooms have TVs in the ceiling and mounted on the wall.
Dr. Hoffman pointed out that more younger clients are coming in the door these days: “I’m seeing and hearing a lot more in terms of cosmetics, whether it’s Invisalign or veneers, or before-and-after products, because social media makes dentistry so accessible to many more people these days.”
Dr. D’Angelo added: “Every patient seems to have an understanding that they need to take care of their teeth, and fillings and crowns and cleanings are part of that. But I still say two-thirds of what we do is want-based. For the vast majority of people, even though they have regular dental needs, the things they want seem to take precedence over things they know they need.
“People have come to realize that a smile they feel comfortable with — and a smile they can share with other people — impacts everybody around them.”
He explained that patients aren’t accepting ugly removable appliances and bridges anymore, either, they want implants and Invisalign, and they want their teeth white. Those desires drive the practice, with 3,000 patients and more walking through the door each day.
All three dentists agree that it really all comes down to the power of a smile.
As Dr. Olson put it: “(A beautiful smile) improves your work life, your love life, and your sense of self-esteem.” Dr. Hoffman added that on a personal note, “I have friends who’ve never been in a serious relationship and they’ve invested in their smile and now they’re engaged! It’s not necessarily the smile that did that, but it’s the confidence that came from the smile that altered their personality.”
And that smile power is also reaching seniors. Dr. D’Angelo commented: “It’s amazing how many people in their 70s are still highly concerned about how their smile looks. When they feel confident about their smile it makes them feel younger, feel healthier, feel more engaged. We’re changing people’s lives. From that standpoint, what we do is incredibly rewarding.”
The La Jolla Dentistry office of Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, Dr. Ashley Olson and Dr. Ryan Hoffman at 1111 Torrey Pines Road, Suite 101 in La Jolla is a fee-for-service practice, which means it participates with all PPO plans as an out-of-network provider. (858) 459-6224. joethedentist.com
— Business Spotlight features commercial enterprises that support La Jolla Light.
The reception area at La Jolla Dentistry, 1111 Torrey Pines Road, Suite 101, La Jolla. (858) 459-6224. joethedentist.com
The reception area at La Jolla Dentistry, 1111 Torrey Pines Road, Suite 101, La Jolla. (858) 459-6224. joethedentist.com (Courtesy Photo)
The World Health Organization (WHO) today declared that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which surfaced in August 2018, is an international emergency. The declaration raises the outbreak’s visibility and public health officials hope it will galvanize the international community to fight the spread of the frequently fatal disease.
“It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our effort,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “We all owe it to [current] responders … to shoulder more of the burden.”
As of today, Ebola has infected more than 2500 people in the DRC during the new outbreak, killing more than 1650. By calling the current situation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, has placed it in a rare category that includes the 2009 flu pandemic, the Zika epidemic of 2016 and the 2-year Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa before it ended in 2016.
The declaration does not legally compel member states to do anything. “But it sounds a global alert,” says Lawrence Gostin, a global health lawyer at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. During the West African epidemic, for instance, the U.S. Congress supplied $5.4 billion in the months after WHO’s emergency declaration.
Even as they declared the emergency, WHO officials attempted to tamp down reactions they said could harm both the DRC’s economy and efforts to stop the outbreak. “This is still a regional emergency and [in] no way a global threat,” said Robert Steffen, the chair of the emergency committee that recommended the PHEIC designation and an epidemiologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, during a press teleconference today. He added in a written statement: “It is … crucial that states do not use the PHEIC as an excuse to impose trade or travel restrictions, which would have a negative impact on the response and on the lives and livelihoods of people in the region.”
The DRC’s minister of health, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, issued a statement accepting the declaration but expressing concern about its motives and the potential impact on his country. “The Ministry hopes that this decision is not the result of the many pressures from different stakeholder groups who wanted to use this statement as an opportunity to raise funds for humanitarian actors,” Kalenga wrote. He said such funds could come “despite potentially harmful and unpredictable consequences for the affected communities that depend greatly on cross-border trade for their survival.”
Steffen’s committee previously declined three times, most recently last month, to recommend that WHO declare the outbreak an international emergency. What changed, he said today, was the 14 July diagnosis of a case of Ebola in the large, internationally connected city of Goma, from which 15,000 people cross the border into Rwanda each day; the murders last weekend of two health workers in the city that is currently the Ebola epicenter of the DRC; a recurrence of intense transmission in that same city, Beni, meaning the disease now has a geographical reach of 500 kilometers; and the failure, after 11 months, to contain the outbreak.
Funding is also at issue. In June, WHO announced its funding to fight the outbreak fell $54 million short; today, accepting the emergency committee’s recommendation, Tedros said the funds needed to stop the virus “will run to the hundreds of millions. Unless the international community steps up and funds the response now, we will be paying for this outbreak for a long time to come.” (A written report from today’s meeting added: “The global community has not contributed sustainable and adequate technical assistance, human or financial resources for outbreak response.”)
When the first known Ebola case in Goma was diagnosed this week, concern spiked about international spread. In addition to being a metropolis of nearly 2 million people where Ebola may spread quickly and be difficult to trace, Goma has an international airport. Separately today, the government of Uganda, in conjunction with WHO, issued a statement describing the case of a fish trader who died of Ebola on 15 July; she had traveled from the DRC to Uganda on 11 July before returning to the DRC.
“Although there is no evidence yet of local transmission in either Goma or Uganda, these two events represent a concerning geographical expansion of the virus,” Tedros said. The risk of spread in DRC, [and] in the region, remains very high. And the risk of spread outside the region remains low.”
Last month, the outbreak’s first known Ebola fatalities outside the DRC were reported in a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother. The two had traveled from the DRC to Uganda after attending the funeral of a relative who died from Ebola.
Health officials are also worried about the safety of those battling the outbreak. Since January, WHO has recorded 198 attacks on health facilities and health workers in the DRC, killing seven, including two workers who were murdered during the night of 13-14 July in their home in Beni. The two northeastern DRC provinces that have experienced the outbreak are also plagued by poor infrastructure, political violence, and deep community distrust of health authorities.
Josie Golding, epidemics lead at the Wellcome Trust in London applauded the declaration of the public health emergency. “There is a grave risk of a major increase in numbers or spread to new locations. … This is perhaps the most complicated epidemic the world has ever had to face, yet still the response in the DRC remains overstretched and underfunded.”
Gostin called the declaration “long overdue. Until now the world has turned a blind eye to this epidemic. WHO has been soldiering on alone, bravely alone. And it’s beyond WHO’s capacity to deal with all of this violence and community distrust.”
PHEICs are governed by the International Health Regulations, a global agreement negotiated in the wake of the 2003 SARS outbreak. The regulations, in force since 2007, stipulate that a PHEIC should be declared when an “extraordinary” situation “constitute[s] a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “potentially require[s] a coordinated international response.”
WHO officials also today addressed the thorny conflict over whether a second, experimental Ebola vaccine, in addition to a Merck vaccine that has already been given to 161,000 people in the DRC, should be deployed there now. Officials worry that Merck’s stockpile—although it is being stretched by reducing the dose of the vaccine being given to each recipient—will be depleted before the outbreak ends. But on 11 July, Kalenga gave a firm “no,” rejecting the use of any new experimental vaccine in the country because of unproven effectiveness and the potential for public confusion. (A Johnson and Johnson [J&J] vaccine that has been shown to be safe in healthy volunteers is waiting in the wings and its use has been advocated for by several infectious disease experts.)
But today, Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said the organization still supports introducing the J&J vaccine if it can win “appropriate national approval.” “The Ministry has expressed concern about introducing a second vaccine … mainly around the issue of confusion in the local population. We are working through those issues about where and when the vaccine could be used,” Ryan said.
David Heymann, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and formerly WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Security and Environment, said today’s emergency declaration may have set a precedent. “The Emergency Committee appears to have interpreted the need for funding as one of the reasons a PHEIC was called—this has not been done in the past.”
I remember my grandmother(Pauline Campbell Bearden) telling me a story once when they were staying with her grandparents( Pappy and Grandma) during the Great Depression.
Dr. Charles Campbell (Pappy) served as the local country doctor for Fosters and surrounding Tuscaloosa county area for many years.
Dr. Charles M. Campbell MD 1867-1939
On this certain occasion she and her brother(HT Campbell) watched out the front window as Pappy pulled a neighbor(John Ed)teeth with nothing but forceps and a cane bottom chair.
She said John Ed would hold on to the chair and give a grunt with each tooth extraction.
Dr. Campbell’s only claim to fame is he delivered a local baby Lurleen Burns Wallace who became the first and only female Governor of Alabama…By the way he was payed a calf for his delivery services of the future governor.
is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.
Some stories include:
The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement
See historical books by Donna R. Causey
By (author): Donna R Causey
$12.97 USD In Stock
About Shannon Hollon
Shannon Hollon lives in McCalla Alabama graduated from McAdory High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Served 9 years in the US Navy Seabees with one tour in Afghanistan.Currently employed with US Steel and serving on the board of directors for the West Jefferson County Historical Society. http://wjchs.com/
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The children who have been detained in overcrowded, squalid migrant camps at the border aren’t just facing poor living conditions. They are also facing higher risks of serious mental health problems, some of which could be irreparable.
The big picture: Children are fleeing life-or-death situations in their home countries, and instead of healing their psychological and emotional trauma, federal officials are exacerbating the damage through means that the medical community views as flagrant violations of medical ethics.
The literature is clear: People who seek asylum and are detained in immigration camps, especially children, suffer “severe mental health consequences.” Those include detachment, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which put them at higher risk for committing suicide.
What they’re saying: Medical professionals remain appalled at what they’ve seen and are raising alarms the U.S. immigration system is still needlessly hurting the already vulnerable mental health of these kids.
Marsha Griffin, a pediatrician in Texas, visited the Ursula detention center in late June with colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics. She recalled a young boy in a cage crying because his father had been taken to court and he had lost his aunt’s phone number. Another child relinquished his space blanket, saying it led to nightmares. “This is child abuse and medical neglect,” Griffin said.
Between the lines: Parents and other adult caregivers are usually the only source of stability for children. Every expert interviewed said separating them in any capacity is psychologically damaging and morally intolerable.
“The children who are separated — I’m speechless,” said Rachel Ritvo, a child psychiatrist who has practiced at Children’s National Medical Center. “That was what was done in slavery. That’s what was done in the Holocaust.”
The bottom line: “Most kids will have lasting scars from what they have seen or are enduring right now,” said Wes Boyd, a psychiatrist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School who has evaluated more than 100 asylum seekers in the past decade. “They’re going to need as much medical help as they do legal help.”
It was an early summer morning at the San Ysidro Health Center, situated on the Mexican border. A flu outbreak gripped a nearby ICE detention center, where a larger humanitarian crisis continued to unfold, threatening the future of hundreds of children.
In a small conference room, brimming with 20 or so of the San Diego area’s most diverse academic and activist minds, Nadine Burke-Harris sat at the head of the table. The 43-year-old pediatrician from San Francisco was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to become California’s first-ever state surgeon general in February. The role is part policymaker, part spokesperson, and full-time advocate for the state’s public health. All of which were needed to protect children at the border, as Burke-Harris later opined in the Washington Post.
In a country where Black people, immigrants, and women all report being unseen by medicine—in research, in practice, and in policy—Burke-Harris is all three. And she is poised to become one of the most powerful women in U.S. state-level government. Ever.
With that new leverage, Burke-Harris has heaved her political and medical capital not toward the expected battle cries—curing cancer, ending HIV infection, or undoing the opioid crisis—but on an affliction which most people don’t even know they experience: toxic stress. “I am not a surgeon general who is going to just tell people to eat right and exercise,” she said.
To Burke-Harris, toxic stress is not about enduring a long line at Starbucks, being ghosted, gentrification, or negativity. It cannot be cured by a warm bath, a juice cleanse, exercise, or meditation. It’s what she calls “higher allostatic load”: the ongoing wear and tear from structural instability, and it bears heavily on people of color, women, queer people, homeless people, poor people, and anyone whose existence is systematically marginalized. This is called John Henryism or weathering, and is worse than a cradle-to-grave crisis: It’s womb-to-grave.
Burke-Harris, pictured left, visiting with community members. Image: Office of the Governor
Black women in the U.S. have double to triple the likelihood of giving birth to a premature child as their white counterparts, quadruple the risk of dying in childbirth, and double the risk of their infant dying within the first year after birth. Meanwhile, a 2018 research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association flagged the suicide risk of black boys aged 5 to 11 as triple that of white boys. Working-class men of color who escape the school-to-prison for-profit pipeline must try 16 times harder to get a therapy appointment than a middle-class white woman. A 2016 Journal of Health and Social Behavior study found that 30 percent of therapists responded to calls for help from middle-class white people, 21 percent to middle-class black women, and 13 percent to middle-class black men.
It’s a good thing, then, that Burke-Harris has been readying herself for a role like this for her whole adult life. Burke-Harris was born in Canada to Jamaican parents; her father brought the family to Palo Alto when he got a Fulbright to teach biochemistry at Stanford. But she knows what it feels like to never feel quite settled in a country. She watched her mother nurse a brother’s 105-degree fever rather than go to the hospital, fearing it might endanger their immigration status. Nonetheless, she climbed quickly: undergrad at Berkeley, medical school at UC Davis, a public health degree at Harvard, and a residency at Stanford, where she was the only black person in her class. In medical school, someone assuming she was a janitor barked that she should “get a mop and mop up that mess.” She declined.
When asked if it’s stressful—as a public official, as a woman, as a minority, as an immigrant—to shoulder California’s hopes, she resists. “Why would I choose that when I can choose joy?” she said.
But Burke-Harris isn’t an advocate in the way one might presume. At the luncheon in San Diego, her telling of a story about an asthmatic 10-year-old girl took a sharp turn from anecdote to diagnosis, casually racing through medical specifications. She paused. “I’m new to public office,” she said unapologetically. “I’m a doctor.” The room erupted in laughter—Burke-Harris’s as well.
She debuted in the national consciousness as many these days do, via a viral video. In her TED talk—watched 2.3 million times since it posted in 2015—she discussed a kind of man-made pathogen tied to 7 out of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. “Folks who are exposed in very high doses have triple the risk of heart disease and lung cancer,” she said, “and a 20-year difference in life expectancy.” The talk was about childhood trauma and toxic stress, which she later outlined in more detail in her book, The Deepest Well. The clinic she ran in one of the worst neighborhoods in San Francisco has been envied nationally and mimicked—badly—in New York.
But for all her scientific rigor, she is full of surprises. “Did you see Night School?” she asked me in the car, racing between back-to-back meetings. “There’s a scene in there where Tiffany Haddish asks Kevin Hart ‘What happened to you?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I’m probably the only person who cheered the medical accuracy there.”
Her friends say it’s not by chance that she reached this level. “Even back then, it was clear that she was guided by a fierce desire to help those who could not help themselves,” said Vivek Murthy, who, at 37, became the nation’s youngest-ever U.S. Surgeon General in 2014. Murthy and Harris-Burke are fellow alumni in the Soros Fellow program and share a dorky coffee mug with their faces on it. And they are aligned on their approach to health. “For most people and policymakers, prevention is less tangible than treatment,” Murthy said. “It’s much easier to picture treating someone with a heart attack than it is to imagine altering the complex threads that determine whether a future heart attack occurs.”
Kimberlydawn Wisdom is Michigan’s state surgeon general, the first state SG in the country, and a close friend. She said Burke-Harris’ appointment is a dream outcome. “California has the power to change the game as no other state,” Wisdom said. “Suddenly I can picture, in my own lifetime, every state and territory having their own surgeon general. It’s just too bad there’s only one Nadine. She’s proof that we’re evolving as a society to include not just diversity but also different perspectives, the true strength of real diversity.”
In her TED talk—watched 2.3 million times—she discussed a kind of man-made pathogen tied to 7 out of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S.
California’s reputation as a game-changer is well-earned. In 1990, San Luis Obispo, nestled in the central part of the state, became the first city in the world to ban all indoor smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants; California was the first state to ban smoking in the workplace in 1995 and, in June, Beverly Hills became the first U.S. city to ban tobacco sales.
California similarly has been a leader in requiring LGBTQ history in schools and banning gay conversion therapy, pushing for over-the-counter access to PrEP for HIV, legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, and pioneering needle exchanges. Pregnant Californians are entitled to four months of paid leave and new parents get three months (unpaid) to bond with their newborn, compared to the federal law, which doesn’t protect any amount of time. This year, California also passed a law much more revealing of baked-in bigotry: it became the first state to ban race-based hair discrimination.
Back in San Ysidro, Burke-Harris toured a maternal health building, complimenting breastfeeding posters (some in Tagalog), praising a cooking program that teaches recipes based on local grocery coupons, and asking lab technicians what software they’re using. But it was later, meeting with other pediatric activists, that the impact of her training became clear. “Working with children, we’re working with families and working with generations,” she said.”There’s a built-in comprehensiveness.” It makes for one hell of a training ground for public policy.
But before launching any new programs, Burke-Harris wants more data, so she helped pass a law requiring all recipients of Medicaid in California to have their Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) scores evaluated and reported. This provides a metric through which to measure toxic stress.The program is $45 million to implement and $60 million to follow through over three years.
Burke-Harris visiting with community members. Image: Office of the Governor
That’s music to Bruce Baldwin’s ears. Baldwin, a 63-year-old tobacco prevention treatment coordinator in California’s rural north, always thought early experimentation with alcohol and stronger drugs—beginning at 12—derailed his life. People would tell him to “be a man, tough it out.” But then he got sober, and his problems remained. It was only with more awareness that he realized his ACE score—the impact of an impoverished childhood without a mother—played a part too. “ACE scores go back further than you can even remember. Your body remembers, though.” He’s hoping Burke-Harris’ impact will help more people like him. “She changed my life with a YouTube video,” he said of her TED talk. “Imagine what she’ll be able to do with real power.”
As both of us packed our things into TSA trays at San Diego’s airport, I asked Burke-Harris to name something she wanted to be common knowledge a generation from now. “Heart attacks start in childhood,” she said without hesitation. “That’s why this is so important. It is the root of the root of pretty much every root. It’s where, how, and why everything begins.”
I asked her about her frequent analogy that toxic stress will be for the 21st century what infectious diseases were to the 20th century. Does that mean her goal is to be the Jonas Salk of our time?
“Yes,” she said with searing determination, her eyes aglow with the superpower of being seen. “That’s exactly what I want to do.”
Whether you call the process “braces,” “orthodontics,” or simply straightening your teeth, these 7 facts about orthodontics – the very first recognized specialty within the dental profession – may surprise you.
1. The word “orthodontics” is of Greek origin.
“Ortho” means straight or correct. “Dont” (not to be confused with “don’t”) means tooth. Put it all together and “orthodontics” means straight teeth.
2. People have had crooked teeth for eons.
Crooked teeth have been around since the time of Neanderthal man. Archeologists have found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around teeth. Hippocrates wrote about “irregularities” of the teeth around 400 BCE* – he meant misaligned teeth and jaws.
About 2,100 years later, a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard wrote about an orthodontic appliance in his 1728 landmark book on dentistry, The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. He described the bandeau, a piece of horseshoe-shaped precious metal which was literally tied to teeth to align them.*
3. Orthodontics became the first dental specialty in 1900.
Edward H. Angle founded the specialty. He was the first orthodontist: the first member of the dental profession to limit his practice to orthodontics only – moving teeth and aligning jaws. Angle established what is now the American Association of Orthodontists, which admits only orthodontists as members.
4. Gold was the metal of choice for braces circa 1900.
Gold is malleable, so it was easy to shape it into an orthodontic appliance. Because gold is malleable, it stretches easily. Consequently, patients had to see their orthodontist frequently for adjustments that kept treatment on track.
5. Teeth move in response to pressure over time.
Some pressure is beneficial, however, some is harmful. Actions like thumb-sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.
Orthodontists use appliances like braces or aligners to apply a constant, gentle pressure on teeth to guide them into their ideal positions.
6. Teeth can move because bone breaks down and rebuilds.
Cells called “osteoclasts” break down bone. “Osteoblast” cells rebuild bone. The process is called “bone remodeling.” A balanced diet helps support bone remodeling. Feed your bones!
7. Orthodontic treatment is a professional service.
It’s not a commodity or a product. The type of “appliance” used to move teeth is nothing more than a tool in the hands of the expert. Each tool has its uses, but not every tool is right for every job. A saw and a paring knife both cut, but you wouldn’t use a saw to slice an apple. (We hope not, anyway!)
A Partnership for Success
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. While the orthodontist provides the expertise, treatment plan and appliances to straighten teeth and align jaws, it’s the patient who’s the key to success.
The patient commits to following the orthodontist’s instructions on brushing and flossing, watching what they eat and drink, and wearing rubber bands (if prescribed). Most importantly, the patient commits to keeping scheduled appointments with the orthodontist. Teeth and jaws can move in the right directions and on schedule when the patient takes an active part in their treatment.
AAO orthodontists are ready to partner with you to align your teeth and jaws for a healthy and beautiful smile.
When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a highly skilled specialist. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligning teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.
LIVERPOOL, England — No two people are exactly alike. Therefore, attempting to classify each unique individual’s mental health issues into neat categories just doesn’t work. That’s the claim coming out of the United Kingdom that is sure to ruffle some psychologists’ feathers.
More people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses than ever before. Multiple factors can be attributed to this rise; many people blame the popularity of social media and increased screen time, but it is also worth considering that in today’s day and age more people may be willing to admit they are having mental health issues in the first place. Whatever the reason, it is generally believed that a psychiatric diagnosis is the first step to recovery.
That’s why a new study conducted at the University of Liverpool has raised eyebrows by concluding that psychiatric diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,” and worthless as tools to accurately identify and address mental distress at an individual level.
Researchers performed a detailed analysis on five of the most important chapters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Heath Disorders (DSM). The DSM is considered the definitive guide for mental health professionals, and provides descriptions for all mental health problems and their symptoms. The five chapters analyzed were: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related disorders.
Researchers came to a number of troubling conclusions. First, the study’s authors assert that there is a significant amount of overlap in symptoms between disorder diagnoses, despite the fact that each diagnosis utilizes different decision rules. Additionally, these diagnoses completely ignore the role of trauma or other unique adverse events a person may encounter in their life.
Perhaps most concerning of all, researchers say that these diagnoses tell us little to nothing about the individual patient and what type of treatments they will need. The authors ultimately conclude that this diagnostic labeling approach is “a disingenuous categorical system.”
“Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.” Lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp explains in a release.
According to the study’s authors, the traditional diagnostic system being used today wrongly assumes that any and all mental distress is caused by a disorder, and relies far too heavily on subjective ideas about what is considered “normal.”
“Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.” Professor John Read comments.
It happened again … twice in less than twenty-four hours. Are any of us surprised? And can anybody help?
When a panel of seven doctors was asked how many had seen a gunshot victim within the past week, three hands went up. “I think people think that if their loved one gets to the hospital, that there’s magic there. But sometimes it’s just too much for us,” said Dr. Stephanie Bonne.
If there was ever a time for preventive medicine, it’s now, says a group of doctors.
“A grandfather was shot yesterday,” said Dr. Roger Mitchell. “A son was shot yesterday. Yesterday – a mother was shot yesterday. And then the day before that, there were five other people that were shot that were connected to Americans in this country.”
They’ve had enough, and seen enough.
“The only thing worse than a death is a death that can be prevented,” said Dr. Ronnie Stewart. “And to go and talk to the mom of a child who was normal at breakfast and now is not here, is the worst possible thing. And honestly, it drives us to address this problem.”
Drs. Stewart, Boone and Mitchell, along with Drs. Albert Osbahr, Niva Lubin Johnson, Chris Barsotti and Megan Ranney were in Chicago this past winter as more than 40 medical organizations, who normally operate separately, joined forces to address the 40,000 firearm-related deaths that occur each year.
Nothing like this has ever happened, they said. “And we recognize that this is an epidemic that we can address,” said Dr. Barsotti.
Their meeting followed a tweet from the National Rifle Association last November that helped fuel a movement: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.”
Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves. https://t.co/oCR3uiLtS7
— NRA (@NRA)
In response, Dr. Bonne, a trauma surgeon in Newark, N.J., snapped a picture pof the waiting room and posted it to Twitter along with this message: “Hey, N.R.A., do you wanna see my lane? Here’s the chair that I sit in when I tell parents that their kids are dead.”
“And you hit send. And then what happens?” asked medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
“I was part of a chorus,” Dr. Bonne replied.
A chorus of thousands of medical professionals who responded #ThisIsOurLane.
“Our motto is do no harm, for physicians. But I think the community felt that harm was being done to us by that tweet,” said Dr. Lubin-Johnson.
Dr. Ranney said, “I remember sitting there and thinking, how can you lecture docs, many of whom are gun owners, about what we do and don’t know?”
Dr. Ranney is chief research officer for Affirm, an organization trying to address gun violence through the same tools doctors use to combat problems like obesity, the opioid crisis, and heart disease.
This public health approach is not new: in the 1950s, doctors worked with the auto industry to help make cars and roads safer. In the ’60 and ’70s, they spoke out against the dangers of tobacco; and in the ’80s and ’90s, to combat HIV and AIDS, they promoted safe sex and research.
Today, the focus is gun violence in all its forms. It may surprise you to know that mass shootings make up less than 1% of firearm-related deaths. The leading cause is suicide, followed by homicide, and then accidents.
But good answers on how best to prevent these deaths are hard to come by. That’s because of 1996 legislation defunding any research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promoting gun control.
Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), who appended an amendment to a spending bill disallowing government funds from beings used to, in whole or in part, advocate or promote gun control, told the House, “This is an issue of federally-funded political advocacy … a[n] attempt by the CDC to bring about gun control advocacy all over the United States.” $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget was re-allocated, and it had a chilling effect on almost all firearm research.
“What was lost was 20-some years of effort to understand and prevent a huge health problem,” said Dr. Garen Wintemute, whose work on handgun violence lost government funding after Congress passed that 1996 legislation. “Consciously, deliberately, repeatedly, over and over, we turned our back on this problem. It’s as if we, as a country, had said, ‘Let’s not study motor vehicle injuries. Let’s not study heart disease or cancer or HIV/AIDS.’
“And the result, I believe, is that tens of thousands of people are dead today whose lives could have been saved if that research had been done.”
In 2018, Congress said government dollars could be used to research gun violence, just not to promote gun control. But Dr. Wintemute says federal research into gun violence is still underfunded.
While private donations for research are now increasing, Dr. Wintemute has over the years spent more than $2 million of his own money to continue his research at the University of California-Davis.
Dr. LaPook asked, “Are you a wealthy man who can afford to just do that, as a rounding error?”
“It’s not rounding error,” he laughed. “But I live a very simple life. I earn an academic sector, ER doc’s salary.”
“So, you are changing your lifestyle in order to fund this research or have in the past?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“What drives you to do that?”
“People are dying,” Dr. Wintemute replied. “Given the capacity to do it, how can I not? It really is just that simple.”
His work has led to some surprising conclusions. For example, his studies revealed that in some states comprehensive background checks as implemented had no effect on the number of firearm-related deaths. That’s in part because of a lack of communication among agencies.
“We have learned that probably hundreds of thousands of prohibiting events every year do not become part of the data that the background checks are run on,” Dr. Wintemute said.
Consider the 2017 shooting of 46 parishioners at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Due to a domestic violence conviction, the shooter should had been stopped from buying any guns, but that information was never shared with the FBUI, which oversees the background check system.
“So you think, okay, it’s not as effective as we want, but it can become effective if we do A, B, and C?” Dr. LaPook said.
“There’s no question about it,” Dr. Wintemute replied.
But it’s policy proposals from doctors on issues like background checks and registrations that concern gun-rights advocates.
Dr. LaPook said, “The point the N.R.A. was trying to make with its [“stay in your lane”] tweet was, what makes doctors experts on gun policy?”
“Doctors are not experts on gun policy unless they do their homework,” said Dr. Wintemute. “What doctors are experts on is the consequences of violence. If doctors choose to be, they can become experts on policy.”
When asked if advocating for gun control part of the mission of Affirm, Dr. Megan Ranney said no. “This is about stopping shooters before they shoot,” she said.
The NRA did not respond to “Sunday Morning”‘s repeated requests for an on-camera interview. However, in a phone conversation earlier this year, two representatives said the organization does support research into gun-related violence, but expressed concern that – say what they will – the ultimate goal of many who advocate such research is to take away the guns of responsible citizens.
Dr. Ronnie Stewart said, “We’re not well-served by this overly-simplistic view of simply two sides fighting each other. We have to work together. And that includes engaging firearm owners as a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.”
For these doctors, the issue isn’t about whose lane it is; it’s about what they can do.
As Dr. Stephanie Boone said, “I know that the house of medicine can fix this.”
BLUEFIELD, Va. — Dr. Dean Evans, who has served the Bluefield, Va. community for 37 years by providing orthodontic treatment to both children and adults, is now in the transitional process of passing his practice on to Dr. Tyler Crowe, a former patient.
Evans, who’s father was a dentist, grew up in Welch before moving to Princeton in 6th grade.
After deciding on orthodontics as a profession he went on to attend Concord College and West Virginia University where he then attended the School of Dentistry and completed his orthodontic residency program. Directly out of his residency, he and his wife spent three years in Alaska with the Air Force. Afterward, he returned to the Bluefield area where he began practicing orthodontics.
“It’s the most fun practice of dentistry,” Evans said. “Orthodontics is just fun. I love the work, I love the kids, I love the adults.”
Crowe said he was Evans’ patient roughly 15 years ago and that Evans is who ultimately inspired him to become an orthodontist.
“After coming here and getting my braces off and just the whole experience I just wanted to be able to provide that experience to other kids,” Crowe said. “The years that you have braces are very impressionable years. Just that impression that you can have. I know what it did for me and how I felt personally about myself through orthodontic treatment, so I wanted to be able to have an impact on other kids in that way.”
According to both Crowe and Evans, they proceeded to stay in touch through the years as Crowe applied to dental school and orthodontics residency where he too graduated from West Virginia University.
As Crowe neared the end of his residency they began discussing his future and what opportunities were ahead locally.
“To be quite frank, I’m not ready to stop practicing. In my mind I was always focused on another five to 10 more years, and then Dr. Crowe came by and he asked if I would be interested in selling the practice,” Evans said. “So I started thinking about it, and say in five years, I want to practice five or 10 more years, and I put out my for sale sign, I may not get anybody half the quality or half the character that Dr. Crowe is.”
According to Evans the final deciding point came when Crowe advised him that he would keep the full staff – which he says is a rare move by new doctors.
In April, Evans disclosed the exciting news with his patients where he shared that his job is more of a calling he never took lightly and he believes Crowe will ensure optimal orthodontic care to all patients.
The outpouring of love to Evans by his patients thus included their welcoming of Crowe in May as the two began working together in anticipation for Evans’ retirement. According to Evans, this is to secure Crowe is comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plans and that the patients are likewise comfortable with Crowe. Evans plans to stay a minimum of 60 days or longer based on the comfort level by all parties involved.
“It was important to both of us that this be smooth and the patients feel comfortable with me. So as we plotted it out, we wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to see both of us at the same time. That way it wouldn’t feel so abrupt to anyone,” Crowe said.
Evans has put optimal trust in Crowe.
“He’s very focused. He’s very detailed for perfection, and as a perfectionist, he’s a perfectionist like I am, it drives you crazy to try to get perfection. It’s just so hard to do that, but he’s very much like that,’’ Evans said of Crowe. “He has a good eye for detail. He’s very very gentle. He’s got good hands. He’s got good patient communication skills.”
Crowe says the transition thus far has been relatively easy as he considers his relationship with Evans to be a friendship unlike the experience of many business transitions. Crowe has also received a positive response from the patients and families.
“I do want to reiterate just the importance that Dr. Evans has had on this community. I remember, this is the guy who had Dr. Dean’s Dodgers, a t-ball team, and shaved his head when one of his patients was going through chemo. So those are really big shoes to fill, and he has just been such a pivotal person in so many lives, so many young people’s lives here. So, moving forward, I’ll miss him every bit as much as the community will miss him,” Crowe said. “He’s still going to be a vital part of this community, just in a different way.”
Just as Crowe and the patients will miss Evans, Evans will likewise miss the people and the impact they’ve had on him while he’s helped their smiles.
“I’m going to miss them. I’ve had so much fun with all my patients and parents and families. And the thing about this area, the people make this area. There’s no greater people anywhere in the world than right here in this area. They’re good people. They’re strong people. They’re honest. And it’s just a real joy to be able to have that as patients and families, and that’s the thing that’s probably impacted me the most, is just the people,” Evans said.
Sure, she can often drive you crazy by using your stuff without asking permission, singing annoyingly, or taking the last piece of candy. At the same time, however, she is one of your closest, most trusted supporters, a true friend, a play buddy, and a great accomplice in pranks.
Of course, we could be listing such wonderful sister qualities endlessly.
But what many people don’t think about is the connection between having a sister and our mental health.
So, if you haven’t called your sister recently to tell her how much you love her, you are about to be given a good reason to do so. Sisters can improve our mental health, and this is how it all works.
А 2010 Brigham Young University Brigham Young University study discovered having a sibling encouraged children to be more kind and helpful. And apparently, if you have a sister, regardless of the age gap, it’s even better.
The research involved 395 families with two or more children, including at least one child between the ages 10 and 14. The adolescent child was filmed while giving answers to questions about a sibling closest in age. A year later, researchers followed up with the families.
“What we know suggests that sisters play a role in promoting positive mental health,” Alex Jensen, an assistant professor at the School of Family Life at BYU, told Motherly, “and later in life they often do more to keep families in contact with one another after the parents pass.”
In addition, the study discovered that having a sister can help you become a kinder and more giving person.
This is due to the fact that sisters promote positive social behaviors such as altruism and compassion when they show love and affection.
But that doesn’t mean that brothers don’t matter. The study found that loving siblings impact each other positively no matter their gender or age differences.
“Sibling affection from either gender was related to less delinquency and more pro-social behaviors like greater kindness and generosity, volunteering, and helping others,” the study’s lead author, BYU professor Laura Padilla-Walker, told ABC News. “Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out. If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That’s an important skill to learn for later in life.”
Do you have a sibling? If so, how would you describe your relationship? Share your stories with us in the comment section below.
Think of a visit with your usual dental hygienist, and you probably think: Yeah, I’ll get my teeth cleaned and a little lecture about flossing, and that’s it. Every appointment is just like another – though each patient’s dental needs are not.
Fortunately, there are growing numbers of hygienists who think outside this box. Free from its confines, we can take a “whole body systems” approach to oral and overall health.
We call this Biological Dental Hygiene.
As a biological dental hygienist, I’m concerned with how the mouth affects the body and how the body affects the mouth. Each patient’s treatment plan is unique, customized to their personal oral-systemic health situation and needs.
What Makes a Biological Hygiene Appointment Different
Conventional dentistry has a pretty set plan for how a hygiene appointment should go:
Things go a bit differently at a Biological Hygiene appointment. For one, we start by talking with you outside of the operatory. We want to know
In other words, we want the big picture before we move on to the operatory.
Though each biological dental hygienist may work a little differently, I always start by taking your blood pressure and giving a blood glucose test. (There’s a strong relationship between diabetes and gum disease!) I also screen for head and neck cancer.
If any x-rays are needed, we take them – digitally, to minimize radiation exposure. (Some also provide homeopathics to counter the effects of radiation.) I also take intra-oral photos of your mouth and then look at a sample of your subgingival plaque with a phase contrast microscope, to get a glimpse of the health of your oral microbiome.
You get to see this in real time, too, observing pathogens – “bad bugs” that may be wreaking havoc with your health. When you do, it raises an obvious question: “How do I get rid of them?” You can see the infection for yourself.
We know that infection produces inflammation not just in the mouth but throughout your body. With the phase contrast microscope, you can see its cause – and have a better understanding of how your teeth, gums and the bone that supports their teeth are affected by these disease-related bacteria.
The biggest difference between this and a conventional dental visit, though, is the conversation we have with you. We’re not there to lecture you on flossing. Instead, together we explore a set of factors that play a big role in both oral and systemic health, identifying your challenges and creating a plan for conquering them.
These factors are summed up nicely in an acronym: HONEST AGE.
H – HYGIENE O – OCCLUSION N – NUTRITION E – EXERCISE S – STRESS T – TOBACCO A – AGE G – GENETICS E – EXERCISE/ EXPERIENCE
Let’s break down what these mean:
Hygiene: How does the way you brush your teeth impact the health of your teeth, gums, and body? Do you floss? Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? How many times a day do you brush and floss? How effective are you?
Occlusion: How do your teeth fit together? Which teeth are affecting your bite relationship? How does this affect your mouth? Are there areas that are hard to reach?
Nutrition: Is your diet well balanced? What can you do to improve it?
Exercise: Are you getting enough physical activity? What can you do to get more of it into each day?
Stress: How do you handle stress? How would you rate your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is “maxed out” and 1 is “pretty mellow”? What can you do to lower that number?
Tobacco: Do you smoke or chew? How much is too much? Do you want to quit?
Age: Are you having any difficulties with mobility and dexterity as you age? Are there other, easier ways to do what you need to get done?
Genetics: Are you predisposed to certain illnesses? How do the ones that affect you affect your oral health?
Experience: Do negative dental experiences in your past keep you from seeing your dentist or hygienist regularly? Are you able to take care of yourself in the environment you live in?
Talking about these points in an open, honest, and nonjudgmental way empowers you to take charge of your oral and overall health. The info we uncover and share becomes the basis of a game plan for improving both.
After this strategizing, we’ll have you swish a disclosing solution in your mouth that will highlight any plaque on your teeth. (Dental plaque is invisible to the naked eye.) You’ll be able to see where you’ve been cleaning effectively, as well as areas you’ve been missing with brush and floss. I’ll take an intra-oral picture of this, as well, so we can compare it to results at your next visit. That way, we can track your progress.
And so you can progress, I’ll give you a mirror to look in as we review home care techniques. Most patients don’t realize how hard it can be to remove mature dental plaque. So I ask you to show me your brushing technique so I can advise on what you can do to get better at removing those soft deposits of bacteria. We may review flossing technique, as well.
And I may suggest other tools you can incorporate into your home care routine to get better results – for instance, oral irrigators, interproximal/interdental (“proxy”) brushes, rubber tips, power brushes, sulcus brushes, and more.
Once we’re done with that, I’ll ask you to rinse with a fluoride-free, alcohol-free rinse in preparation for your cleaning. Before scaling – scraping the biofilm from your teeth – I’ll irrigate with ozonated water or use a subgingival laser (i.e., a laser that goes below your gumline) to reduce the bacterial load in the pockets (sulci) that flank each of your teeth. This lessens the bacterial cascade into the body that can happen during a deep cleaning.
I then scale the teeth to remove both hard and soft deposits (calculus and plaque, respectively). If I’m using an ultrasonic scaler, I’ll use ozonated water in it to further eliminate harmful bacteria. Afterwards, I’ll irrigate again with ozonated water and then polish your teeth with a fluoride-free, organic prophy paste, followed by a good flossing.
Your next appointment is then booked based not on some predetermined schedule but your actual needs.
Another biological dental hygienist may do these things in a different order or in a different way, but all of us take into account the whole body picture with respect to your oral health and opt for the least invasive nontoxic ways of providing the care you need.
YOU Take an Active Role
Conventional dentistry trains patients to be relatively passive in their care. The dentist and hygienist are the ones who “do things.” The patient is the one “done to.”
We want to bring about an end to what I call “the Yes Syndrome” – where patients agree with whatever the hygienist or dentist says, just to get on with the cleaning so they can get out of the dental chair and on with the rest of their day’s business.
In the biological model, though, we expect you to be engaged in your own treatment plan, as well as your home care routine. We want you to be involved in your own oral and overall health.
Watermelon is one of my all-time favorite fruits. It is very cleansing, alkalizing and mineralizing—excellent for flushing out the kidneys and bladder, healing and preventing a wide range of ailments.
Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family which comprises fruits like cantaloupe, pumpkin and similar plants that grow on vines on the ground.
Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape; light to dark green in color, with lighter mottling stripes.
Its succulent flesh is commonly bright red in color but there are also other varieties with dark brown, orange, yellow, pink and even white flesh.
Watermelon Nutrition Data
The water content in watermelon is extremely high at 92%. It is rich in beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and smaller amounts of B1, B2, B3 and B6.
This big fruit is a rich source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and smaller amounts of copper, iron and zinc.
As in tomatoes, watermelon is loaded with lycopene, the red carotenoid pigment that gives the fruit its red color. This important antioxidant is powerful in neutralizing harmful free radicals in our body.
Perhaps, one of the most important compounds in watermelon is citrulline. Read on to learn more about what citrulline can do for your body.
Health Benefits of Watermelon Juice
Watermelon juice is very cleansing, alkalizing, diuretic and mineralizing.
Watermelon is so rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. The benefits of drinking watermelon juice is that it is easily digestible and the nutrients are quickly absorbed by your body at the cellular level.
Drawing from the rich antioxidant and beta-carotene, the health benefits of watermelon are immense.
It is alkalizing
Consuming foods that are highly acidic will cause your blood to be acidic, potentially lowering your immune system and increasing the chances of developing a chronic disease.
The key to fighting and preventing diseases then, is to create an alkaline environment in your body. Due to its high water content, watermelon has a very alkaline pH, making it an excellent food for reversing symptoms of acidosis (over-acidity).
Harmful pathogens—parasites, harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts—thrive in an acidic body, whereas an alkaline environment neutralizes the toxic condition, preventing cell damage and aging.
Watermelon has a 92% water content and is rich in electrolytes, making it an excellent rehydrating food. This is important, as dehydration causes the body to be acidic.
Reduces inflammation in the body
Recent studies have discovered that watermelons have 1.4x the lycopene content of tomatoes when compared in the same volume.
Lycopene is the phytonutrient in the fruit that gives it its red-pink color. And, in watermelon, this antioxidant is available in abundance.
Unlike lycopene from tomato that needs to be processed for best bioavailability, the lycopene from watermelon is available directly to the human body immediately after consumption. What this means, is that no processing of the watermelon is necessary to enjoy the benefits of lycopene.
Thanks to lycopene and other powerful nutrients in watermelon juice, they act as inhibitors for various inflammatory processes. Reducing inflammation provides relief and healing to individuals suffering from body and muscle aches, and various forms of arthritis.
Protects against asthma and allergy attacks
The presence of lycopene in high concentration in watermelons, plus its easy bioavailability, helps to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in cases of asthma and allergies.
Several studies reported lower rates of wheezing and allergic rhinitis in children who consumed antioxidant-rich foods such as watermelon.
Oxidative stress resulting from excessive free radicals in the body, can have a harmful effect on the airway function, causing asthma and allergy attacks. In this case, consumption of watermelon juice helps raise the immune responses in preventing attacks.
The arthritis.org website agrees that watermelon is beneficial for individuals suffering from various forms of arthritis.
Studies show that watermelon can lower C-reactive Protein (CRP)—a measure of body-wide inflammation linked to arthritis flares and heart disease.
Watermelon is rich in carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which is beneficial for individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, reducing painful inflammatory joint conditions.
Treats conditions in the renal system
Among all fruits, watermelon has the highest amount of amino acid citrulline, a word derived from citrullus, a Latin word for watermelon. This compound is found in the highest concentration in the white rind (the white matter just under the skin).
This is why it is beneficial to include the rind when juicing watermelon, especially if you have a kidney or bladder issue.
High concentrations of citrulline and vitamin C (ascorbid acid) in watermelon rind juice help to break down kidney stones, clean out the kidneys and bladder, and reduce inflammation caused by free radicals.
The citrulline in watermelon is also key in making this fruit richly hydrating and naturally diuretic. The natural diuretic effect ensures that your kidneys and bladder are effectively flushed of toxins, thus reducing fluid retention in the body.
Ladies who have PMS issues with water retention may find relief when drinking watermelon juice a week prior to their menstruation, and also prevent bloating.
At the first sign of an urinary tract infection (UTI), start drinking freshly-extracted watermelon juice—flesh, seeds, rind and all—till symptoms are gone.
Calms the gastrointestinal tract
Like most fruits, watermelon juice has a natural laxative effect that helps improve regularity, for a healthy digestive system.
Watermelon juice helps to calm the gastrointestinal tract, regulates pH levels, reduces inflammation and acidity. This makes it an excellent, healing drink for individuals suffering from acid reflux.
Watermelon juice is one of the best juices to drink when one’s constipated. If you have chronic constipation, make it a point to drink a glass of watermelon juice daily to improve regularity. This is especially useful for children who are constipated—most kids love watermelon juice and it is easy to have them drink it.
To relieve that occasional constipation, drink a big jumbo glass of watermelon juice (about 20-30 ounces) on empty stomach.
Provides electrolytes to your body
Watermelon juice is rich in various minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus) to replenish electrolytes lost after a good workout.
If you have any of these symptoms, chances are that you have an electrolyte imbalance: muscle aches, spasms, twitches and weakness; restlessness, frequent headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations, fatigue, numbness and pain in joints, and dizziness.
Drink watermelon juice consistently every day to supply your body with these rich minerals until your symptoms disappear.
Improves eye health
Watermelons contain high levels of beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) that is converted into vitamin A (retinol) in your body when needed.
If you’ve read that vitamin A is toxic at high levels, that is only referring to supplementary sources (synthetic) and doesn’t apply here. Dietary sources (natural foods) of vitamin A is non-toxic at all, even in high amounts.
Beta-carotene is the red pigmentation that gives watermelon flesh its color. It is an antioxidant that protects your eyes from free radicals damage.
One of the main causes of eye problems is due to low intake of antioxidants and vitamin A in one’s diet. So it makes sense that when you flood your system with watermelon juice (or other high-antioxidant juices) that is rich in these compounds, they help to nourish and improve your eye health.
Vitamin A is essential for good vision, and it protects your eyes from various eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal degeneration, night blindness and the like.
Lowers the risks of strokes and heart attacks
The health benefits of watermelon is just endless. The combination of high antioxidants, lycopene and other essential vitamins and minerals in this fruit plays an important role in reducing the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
Studies show that the rich nutrients in watermelon, along with lycopene are health-promoting agents that reduce risk of cardiovascular disorders.
High consumption of lycopene in watermelon has been observed to reduce the thickness of the internal layer of blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of myocardial infarction.
Risks of heart attacks, ischemic strokes and artheroslerosis are also much reduced when oxidation of LDL is prevented by drinking watermelon juice.
The diuretic effect of watermelon juice flushes out toxins and excess salt out of your body. This process causes the walls of your blood vessels to relax and widen, thus improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. This can be observed even after drinking just one glass of watermelon juice.
Eliminates toxic wastes from your body
Watermelon is one of the best fruits to be included when doing a juice cleanse. Alternatively, you can also do just a watermelon detox as it is effective for removing toxic wastes from your body that are slowing down your metabolism.
When toxins are eliminated, it is only natural that your largest organ, your skin, will have a healthy glow. You may expect clearer, smoother skin that is properly hydrated.
Individuals who suffer from itchiness on the skin as a result of acidosis toxicity, may also find relief after a watermelon juice detox.
Protects against various cancers
Watermelon is a valued source of natural antioxidants with special reference to its lycopene, ascorbic acid and citrulline. These compounds have been shown to act as protection against chronic health problems such as cancer.
In fact, watermelon has the highest concentration of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene has been extensively researched for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.
It is reported to be especially protective against cancers of the prostate, lung, colorectal, endometrial and breast.
Improves sexual health
As discussed above, drinking watermelon juice relaxes and dilates your blood vessels and increases your overall energy and stamina. This works well for athletes as well as for men who needs that extra energy in bed!
Watermelon acts as a natural viagra, according to an Italian study. Consuming watermelon juice that has high content of citrulline has been found to improve erection hardness in men suffering from mild erectile dysfunction.
In the study, men with mild erectile dysfunction (erection hardness score of 3) received L-citrulline supplementation for a month. L-citrulline is the natural form of citrulline.
50% of the men were found to have an improvement in the erection hardness score from 3 (mild ED) to 4 (normal erectile function), with no adverse effects.
Number of intercourses per month increased, and all participants reported being very satisfied with the treatment.
Aids weight loss
Like all fruits and vegetables, watermelon is very low in calories. Consumption of 100 grams of watermelon provides about 30kcal. It contains almost 92% water and 7.55% of carbohydrates, out of which 6.2% are sugars and 0.4% dietary fiber.
Eating watermelon or drinking of its juice is very satiating and fulfills your body’s need for all the nutrients that it needs. It makes you feel full for longer.
And, because watermelon helps to keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy, prevents constipation, water retention and bloating, and removes toxins from the body—these all contribute to gradual weight loss.
As your body becomes healthier, weight loss often comes naturally.
Watermelon For Individuals With Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
Experimental studies have indicated that patients with high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are more prone to risks of coronary complications. Elevated oxidative stress and LDL oxidation are major contributory factors.
As discussed above, watermelon juice is excellent in countering both these conditions: oxidative stress and LDL oxidation.
Lycopene in watermelon has the potential to reduce oxidized cholesterol in diabetic state. It has the ability to decrease body glucose and raise insulin level in type 2 diabetes.
In a study, watermelon extract was administered to diabetic rats. At the end of the study, a rise in insulin level 37% whilst decline in glucose 33% were observed. The study concluded that watermelon extract is a hyperinsulinemic and hypoglycemic product.
So, can you have watermelon if you have diabetes?
The answer depends on your overall diet. If you generally watch your diet and eating foods mostly low in sugar, it would not hurt for you to eat watermelon, even drink watermelon juice in moderatioin. Here are some tips:
While watermelon extract may not be easily available (per study above), perhaps for individuals who have diabetes—opt for watermelons that are less ripe. This article tells you how to pick ripe watermelons, the opposites are true for picking unripe watermelons.
The flesh of a less ripe watermelon will be lightly pinkish, not red, and will be low in sugar content.
Wash the watermelon clean, include the watermelon rind and skin in your juicing to enjoy its full benefits of kidney cleansing.
Health Benefits of Watermelon Seeds
Eating a small amount of watermelon seeds can give you the chance to enjoy its many nutrients and benefits.
Watermelon seeds are packed full of healthy fats. These fats can decrease your appetite, help you feel full, and strengthen your hair, skin, and nails.
Watermelon seeds are rich in zinc and magnesium, two essential minerals that the vast majority of Americans do not get enough of. Zinc and magnesium can help boost your metabolism, give you more energy, and prevent depression. These minerals also support mental clarity.
Another surprising nutrient you’ll find in watermelon seeds is iron. One ounce of watermelon seeds has 25% of the iron that a grown man needs every day. Hitting your recommended daily iron intake can prevent fatigue, improve mental functioning, and prevent anemia.
Watermelon Consumption Tips
So, the question is: Is eating too much watermelon bad for you?
While watermelon is great and beneficial for all the health conditions we discussed above, eating too much of anything in the long term may have an adverse effect.
It is fine though, to eat watermelon or drink its juice for a season, therapeutically, depending on the severity of your health condition.
Here are some tips on preparing and consuming watermelon.
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About Sara Ding
Sara Ding is the founder of Juicing-for-Health.com. She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.
Murray Klauber, an orthodontist from Buffalo, N.Y., reinvented himself as the owner of a Florida tennis resort where Nick Bollettieri taught tennis and Al Gore practiced for debates, before a dispute sent the business into a death spiral.