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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Maimonides Says Change Your Habits, Not Just Your Diet

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

With a few weeks until summer, numerous new diets are popping up to offer a quick fix. But there’s a reason most diets fail – it’s just too easy to fall back into old habits. Even if you want to lose weight because of a health scare or for an upcoming family celebration, that inspiration often fades as your grandiose dieting plans lose steam. You can only rely on your own motivation for so long.  Even if you do lose weight, maintaining that success is unlikely.  Today’s nutritionists and psychologists teach us that we need to change our habits, not just our diet, but this strategy is actually rooted in traditional Jewish wisdom.

Maimonides, the 12th century Jewish sage and medical doctor, wrote extensively on nutrition and wellness, and his writings are now being incorporated into contemporary medical studies on healthy living habits. After years of studying his writings, I see that Maimonides believed that long-term weight loss success is dependent on more than just motivation; working your mind along with your body is essential. Weight loss and optimum health are more than simply issues of food and diet; changing our habits – our learned behaviors – is possible and effective when they are done at the right pace.

Motivation simply relies on inspiration and will power. Even if you are highly motivated, you still have to contend with old, stubborn habits. In order to achieve long-term success, changing those habits is essential. Habitual change causes a subconscious inner change. The outer action may be exactly the same every time you repeat it, but the subconscious accumulation of every minor experience and feeling associated with that act gains momentum each time it is repeated. Eventually, your new habits will replace your negative habits.

Maimonides distinguishes between ‘habit’ and ‘motivation’. He writes:

“Positive behavior characteristics are not acquired by doing great (positive) acts but rather by repeating positive acts. For example, giving $1,000 to one charity will not accustom a person to being generous, whereas giving $1 to 1000 different charities rehearses the trait of generosity in that individual. That repeated action of giving regulates that person to continue giving.  By repeating an act many times, an established behavior or emotional pattern is formed. In contrast, one great act does do some level of good, but the motivation may disappear shortly thereafter.” (See Commentary to Avos 3:18)

Specifically with regards to health and wellness, Maimonides writes, “One’s usual custom and habit is a fundamental principle in the maintenance of health and the cure of illnesses. One should not change ones habits all at once.” (Regimen of Health 4, 15)

Here, Maimonides teaches us about human nature: to change a bad habit, the key is to take simple steps.

The success that many people had losing weight based on my book, “The Life Transforming Diet” was the result of adhering to the wisdom of Maimonides and his principles of behavior modification. As I continued my research, honing in more specifically on habits, I designed a five-week plan that comes just in time to prepare for the summer.

This plan for establishing habits for healthy living will set you in motion, as Maimonides discusses, to change those old, stubborn eating habits:

  • Habit 1 – Week 1: Swap out one meal each day with a Light Meal that’s 250 calories or less, like fruit, salad, eggs and toast or cereal with milk.
  • Habit 2 – Week 2: Make one meal each day a Concentrated Food or “CF Meal” of protein + veggies only. A glass of red wine is also allowed!
  • Habit 3 – Week 3: Make one meal each day a “V-Plus” Meal – the V is for veggies! Eat as you normally would (including healthy grains), but for seconds, it’s veggies only.
  • Habit 4 – Week 4: Add in Exercise with just 10 minutes of cardio, 3 days/week to start
  • Habit 5 – Week 5: Between meals, start Snack Substitution: try water, veggies, low-fat dairy, or fruit instead.

It’s crucial not to jump stages in this program. The goal is to introduce one positive habit each week. In the first week, you will make only one change. In the second week, you will continue with your first change, and then add one more – and so on. It is important to make only the one change every week, and keep the rest of your routine exactly the same. These are the steps to changing your habits forever. You can read more about the 5 habits and 5-week program, including diet diaries, motivation, sample meal plans and daily schedules at www.5skinnyhabits.com.

Brain-Dead Israeli Boy’s Kidney Donated to PA Child

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The kidney of a 3-year-old Israeli boy was successfully transplanted to a 10-year-old Palestinian Authority boy.

The parents of Noam Naor decided to donate his kidneys after their son was declared brain dead nearly two weeks ago after falling from a window in his parents’ apartment.

One kidney went to an Israeli child, and the parents were asked by the National Transplant Center for their permission to give the second kidney to a boy from the Palestinian Authority, according to reports.

The operation on Sunday was successful, according to the Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

The Palestinian child had been undergoing dialysis for seven years at the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem while waiting for a match.

“Noam’s parents are noble and an inspiration to us all,” Israeli Health Minister Yael German said. “Their donation is a source of pride and an example of humanity and kindness.”

Tel Aviv U Researcher Says Marijuana Can Halt Brain Damage

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Extremely low doses of marijuana’s psychoactive component can protect the brain before and after injury, according to Tel Aviv University Prof. Yosef Sarne.

Medical cannabis is often used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and other symptoms but has not been  identified as being able to prevent damage to the body.

Prof. Sarne of the Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases says that the drug has neuroprotective qualities and that extremely low doses of THC –  the psychoactive component of marijuana – protects the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from lack of oxygen, seizures, or toxic drugs. Brain damage can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive deficits to severe neurological damage.

Previous studies focused on injecting high doses of THC within a very short time frame of approximately 30 minutes  before or after injury. Prof. Sarne’s current research, published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, demonstrates that even extremely low doses of THC around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette and administered over a wide window of up to seven days before or one to three days after injury can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.

This treatment, especially in light of the long time frame for administration and the low dosage, could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time, Prof. Sarne says.

In the lab, the researchers injected mice with a single low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. A control group of mice sustained brain injury but did not receive the THC treatment. When the mice were examined three to seven weeks after initial injury, recipients of the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. Additionally, biochemical studies showed heightened amounts of neuroprotective chemicals in the treatment group compared to the control group.

The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage that results from brain injury, the researchers conclude. One explanation for this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, whereby the drug causes minute damage to the brain to build resistance and trigger protective measures in the face of much more severe injury, explains Prof. Sarne. The low dosage of THC is crucial to initiating this process without causing too much initial damage.

According to Prof. Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment plan.

Due to the long therapeutic time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat injury after the fact, but also to prevent injury that might occur in the future.

For example, cardiopulmonary heart-lung machines used in open heart surgery carry the risk of interrupting the blood supply to the brain, and the drug can be delivered beforehand as a preventive measure. In addition, the low dosage makes it safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain injury, such as epileptics or people at a high risk of heart attack.

Prof. Sarne is now working in collaboration with Prof. Edith Hochhauser of the Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to prevent damage to the heart.

Preliminary results indicate that they will find the same protective phenomenon in relation to cardiac ischemia, in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.

Would Hawking Meet Paraplegic Arab Saved by Israel?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Columnist David Suissa, the founder of OLAM magazine, has challenged theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to visit a three-year old Gaza paraplegic who is being cared for by Israel.

Hawking shocked the entire Israel political spectrum, from left to right, by his boycotting President Shimon Peres annual “Presidential Conference’ because of the “occupation.”

Hawking who is severely handicapped by a deteriorating disease and is confined to a wheelchair, is able to communicate through a device that is run by a computer chip designed and developed in Israel.

“Instead of getting upset at Hawking, I would rather we invite him to visit the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel HaShomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, Suissa wrote in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

There, he would meet a three-year-old Arab toddler with no arms and no legs, named Mohammed al-Farra.

“Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his care.

“As soon as he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treatment. As reported in Huffpost, his genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system and crippled his bowels, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.

“Since then, he has spent his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather lives with him. Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israeli doctors, who have arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.”

Suissa asked, “I wonder what kind of boycott Hawking would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learning about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals?

“Well, I can think of at least one: It would be a boycott of every country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra.”

Israel to Show Off to Obama Hi-Tech ‘Robot Snake’ (Video)

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week will show President Barack Obama a series of technological products by Israel’s high-tech industries in the framework of a special exhibit that will be set up in President Obama’s honor.

The products that were chosen are in the fields of renewable energy, the war on traffic accidents, medicine, search and rescue, and robotics.

After touring the “Israeli Technology – For a Better World”  exhibit at the Israel Museum, President Obama will meet with the next generation of Israeli scientists – young people from Haifa, who won an international robotics competition that was held in the United States last year.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will present to President Obama seven products that were chosen by a professional committee from among proposals presented by Israel’s universities.

National Information Directorate head Liran Dan said, “There are two principal messages that we would like to emphasize during the visit.  First and foremost is the deep connection between Israel and the US. Alongside this, we would also like to present to the world the products of the future that originate in Israel and which will be used in many places around the world.”

The chosen products are, in the field of energy alternatives – Phinergy;

In the field of the struggle against traffic accidents – Mobileye;

In the field of medicine – BNA technology by ElMindA , MiniDesktop and Rewalk; and

In the field of search and rescue – robot snake

The seventh product is a “robot waiter” that was designed by Haifa junior high school pupils and which was developed with guidance from Technion researchers.

The device was the winner in an international robotics competition that was held in the United States last year. It shows how a robot might serve a handicapped person in his home. The robot is 35 centimeters tall and uses sensors to orient itself in its surroundings and perform tasks that it has been programmed to do.

Phinergy has developed an aluminum-air battery designed for electric vehicles, and which allows a significant increase in travel range – three times that of a regular electric vehicle. The technology will allow for a reduction in

Mobileye, a global pioneer in developing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), is to develop and market vision-based systems that will help drivers keep passengers safe on the roads and decrease traffic accidents by warning about dangerous situations and even braking the vehicle when necessary. To date, Mobileye’s technology has been implemented and launched by BMW, Volvo, GM and Ford in over one million vehicles.

ElMindA’s Brain Network Activation technology platform provides a non-invasive tool for the visualization and quantification of BNAs of specific brain functionalities, disease development and rehabilitation from injuries, reactions to treatment, psychiatric and neurological problems, and pain.

The robot snake is designed to enter spaces in collapsed structures with minimal disturbance. The robot assists in location and rescue operations and is unique in its manner of crawling and is very flexible thanks to its great number of segments.

Each joint is motorized and has a computer, sensors, wireless communications and batteries. Its head carries a camera. Thanks to its flexible structure, the snake is able to crawl through wreckage without causing additional structural collapses and provide vital information about inaccessible areas.

The  Rewalk approach aims to give persons with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, an experience that is as close to natural walking as possible. The ReWalk exoskeleton suit uses a patented technology with motorized legs that power knee and hip movement. Battery-powered for all-day use, ReWalk is controlled by on-board computers and motion sensors.

The MiniDesktop is a headset that enables computers to be controlled by brainwaves or facial movements. The computer is controlled without a mouse or keyboard by means of a headset that images the user’s brainwaves from 14 separate points. The system, which was developed by three software engineering graduates from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is designed to serve the physically handicapped who could not otherwise operate a computer or other devices.

Israel Start-Up’s Anti-Obesity Pill Set to Go Big Time

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The Israeli start-up Gelesis is in advanced talks with a large pharmaceutical company to develop its pill that makes fat people feel their stomachs are full, resulting in less food intake and a loss in weight.

The pharma company was not identified by Israel’s Globes business newspaper, which said that Gelesis soon will publish results of a recent clinical trial of the pill.

Instead of asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the product as a nutritional supplement or medical device, the Israeli company wants to offer it is a medicine to increase its market appeal.

The value of the deal with the foreign pharmaceutical company could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. The unidentified company will invest millions of dollars for developing the pill and will pay royalties on sales, Globes added.

The slim-down pill is made from indigestible edible fiber taken before a meal. The pills, after coming in contact with water, inflate and  make food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating the sense of being sated.

A study of the pill’s effects several years ago showed a high rate of those who said they felt they had enough to eat, while only 16 percent reported they suffered side effects of discomfort, which Gelesis may be able to reduce by changing the dosage for certain individuals.

Obesity is a leading cause of death, and the leading treatment for obesity is through surgery.

The obesity treatment market currently includes various appetite suppressants, but the leading solution for morbid obesity is stomach bypass or reduction surgery. Although other products for filling the stomach are under development, Gelesis’ edge is that its product works with food.

A small number of diet drugs are on the market or are being studied by the FDA, but their success has been limited.

Besides Gelesis, at least one other company, EntroMedics, has developed a system to limit the expansion of the stomach and control hunger sensations. However, clinical trials last month were disappointing.

Israeli Mother of Terror Victim Cheers Sick People as Medical Clown

Monday, March 4th, 2013

On March 1, 2001, Claude Knapp was murdered by a suicide bomber while taking a shared taxi from Tel Aviv that exploded around the Mei Ami Junction. He was 29 years of age. Nine other people were injured. Claude’s dog survived this terror attack, however, unlike his owner, yet was traumatized for the rest of his life, refusing to bark like other dogs traditionally do. It demonstrates that animals, just like people, can suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. As can be expected, life was never the same after that point for Claude’s mother and two other siblings.

Claude Knapp was murdered in a terrorist attack.

Claude Knapp was murdered in a terrorist attack.

Since that time, Daniele Knapp, Claude’s mother, who presently lives in Afula, has been an outspoken advocate against terrorism and against foreign funding reaching terrorists. She went as part of a delegation with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to The Hague, where she was interviewed by Spanish, French, and German reporters. Daniele also spoke at an event organized in Boston by the Israel Project. Unfortunately, the Palestinian who murdered Daniele’s son, Ziad Kilani, was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Daniele does not comprehend how Palestinian suicide bombers and their families can be so cruel. She claims that she can never understand parents who just lost their children yet hand out sweets and candy after their children are dead or just murdered Jews.  According to Daniele, “Having a child is a gift from Hashem and someone who doesn’t appreciate that is something terrible. To fight is not the most important thing.” She was thus critical of Arab forces, such as those actually in Syria, who preferred weapons over humanitarian aid for needy children.

It has been about twelve years since Daniele lost her son.   She deals with her grief mainly by becoming a volunteer medical clown where she cheers up people who suffer from various illnesses.   According to the Simchat Halev Organization where she studied to be a clown:

Every one needs to laugh—especially children and adults who are hospitalized with serious medical conditions.   Laughter not only raises a patients’ spirits; it’s been proven to reduce anxiety, speed the recovery process and simply make life better.   And that’s what Simchat Halev is all about.   Simchat Halev is a magical organization that creates laughter, humor and happiness in environments where, most often, nothing seems funny—like hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

Daniele has gone to numerous events to help needy children, where she would hand out balloons, magic, engage in dolls theatre and make people laugh, and to entertain children inside of bomb shelters. This past Purim, she visited a child who had cancer. According to Daniele, usually the children are very happy whenever she comes to them. Indeed, one parent wrote to her stating,

I saw you and Y***** in the pictures and you both have a real and happy smile from the heart. I too get emotional when I see this. And to know that he told everyone about how wonderful it was with you, about him being happy and joyful – this is a true present a person could wish for. Even though I never met you, I know and feel from your letters your love and attention and caring for people. You give them your heart, you care for everyone personally, and they feel it. The wonderful love within you is unique. You are unique.

By making underprivileged children laugh and smile, Daniele is truly doing a mitzvah. Yet it is important to note that Daniele is doing this all in the memory of her beloved son, Claude. She claimed,

I believe joy is one of the things that can cure the sadness. I think that every one can do his own joy. […] Dr. Hunter Patch Adams has a philosophy we should be very creative and to push people to be happy and trust that this happiness will give them strength, and if we keep crying about what has happened to us, then we will never enjoy our life.

Daniele’s clown name is DR Caramel.  When visiting the sick, there is no color or religious difference and this proves that we should bring joy and love to everyone who has suffered.

Originally published at United with Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/israeli-mother-of-terror-victim-cheers-sick-people-as-medical-clown/2013/03/04/

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