Thursday, May 29, 2008


This is a very good indicator, imo, that ALL pulmonary rehab, whether via internet, teleconference or in person, is a definite and paramount ingredient to those of us who want to improve our physical abilities, thus, quality of life.

Program Provides Lung Rehab Remotely

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A program that uses video-teleconferencing, the internet and other technologies to deliver lung rehabilitation remotely to people with the chronic lung disease COPD who live in rural areas helps them breathe more easily and get more out of life, researchers have found.

The Telehealth program shows similar results to standard in-person lung rehabilitation, Tina Jourdain, a respiratory therapist who is involved with the program, told the American Thoracic Society's 2008 international conference in Toronto.

The Telehealth program is an extension of the Breathe Easy Pulmonary Rehabilitation program based in Edmonton, Canada. According to Jourdain, referrals to the program have increased over the years, but many rural patients live too far from respiratory centers to benefit from it. To expand access, the Telehealth Pulmonary Rehabilitation program was launched in 2005, she explained in a statement.

With the Telehealth program, people with chronic lung disease "see" lung specialists and therapists and engage in a guided exercise program remotely. Two days per week patients attend educational sessions led by Telehealth at their local healthcare center and perform appropriate exercises supervised by a respiratory therapist or physical therapist at any community center with exercise space.

Jourdain and colleagues compared results achieved in the in-person program with those achieved by 113 rural patients who used the Telehealth program for 8 weeks.

The 86 patients who completed the 8-week program experienced significant improvements in the distance they could walk in 12 minutes and in quality of life, Jourdain reported.

"The results were similar between local programs and the Telehealth program," she said.
"Many patients are hesitant to exercise without supervision out of the fear of 'doing more harm than good' when they experience shortness of breath," she explained. "This results in the patient becoming more sedentary and deconditioned."

With the Telehealth program, "the patient is monitored and builds knowledge and self-confidence to do exercise regularly, which in turn improves their physical condition and their quality of life as well," Jourdain said.

According to the Canadian Thoracic Society, only 98 pulmonary rehabilitation facilities exist in Canada, with the capacity to serve just 1.2 percent of Canadians with COPD. Because many Canadian COPD patients live in rural areas, expanding the reach of such programs is important, researchers note.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Memory of Our Military Veterans, Our Heroes

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Annual visitors: 3,538,479
History: The V-shaped granite wall inscribed with American soldiers who died in the war was designed in 1981 by Maya Lin, an undergraduate student at Yale.

We Thank You for keeping us safe and free. We honor you for your sacrifice of your very life. May we be worthy of all you have done.
Rest in peace and glory, dear warriors. You are not forgotten.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Puppy Mills - Let's Help Those Poor Animals!

I am going to break away from COPD articles today to bring a VITAL message from the ASPCA.
I ask you to help by following these guidelines and protecting our animals. They are so worthy of love and a good home, food, water, health care. Until a few months ago, I was owned by 2 Siberian Huskies for 13 years. They are gone now and I miss them each and every day. When I got to the point that I had trouble breathing with this COPD, these 2 wonderful babies tried their very best to breath for me. Words are inadequate to express my appreciate to them and to our Creator for entrusting those 2 beautiful souls to me for 13 wonderful years. So there is NO WAY I will ever believe that these beautiful animals God/dess has created do not have souls and feelings. And they just want to be loved and love you back so please help. Please. They deserve and count on our help and love. They have no other voice or hope than us.

Rest in peace, babies. I love you and have you tucked here in my heart.

Thank you and sweetest blessings,

10 Ways You Can Help Fight Puppy Mills

1. Do Not Buy Your Puppy From a Pet Store
That puppy who charmed you through the pet shop window has most likely come from a large-scale, substandard commercial breeding facility, commonly known as a puppy mill. In these facilities, parent dogs are caged and bred as often as possible, and give birth to puppies who could have costly medical problems you might not become aware of until after you bring your new pet home.

2. Make Adoption Your First Option
If you’re looking to make a puppy part of your family, check your local shelters first. Not only will you be saving a life, but you will ensure that your money is not going to support a puppy mill. There are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country―and an estimated one in four is a purebred! Your second option is breed rescue. If your heart is set on a specific breed you haven’t been able to find in a shelter, you can do an Internet search for a breed-specific rescue organization.

3. Know How to Recognize a Responsible Breeder
If you’ve exhausted your options for adopting and are choosing to buy from a breeder, remember that responsible breeders have their dogs’ interests in mind. They are not simply interested in making a sale, but in placing their pups in good homes. A responsible breeder should screen you as thoroughly as you screen them! Read the ASPCA’s responsible breeding statement to find out more about how a responsible breeder behaves.

4. See Where Your Puppy Was Born and Bred
One sign that you are speaking to an unscrupulous breeder is that they will not let you see the facility in which your puppy was born. Always ask to see the breeding premises and to meet both parents (or at least the mother) of the puppy you want to take home. You should also ask for an adoption contract that explains―in terms you understand―the breeder’s responsibilities, health guarantee and return policy.

5. Internet Buyers, Beware!
Buying a puppy from the Internet is as risky as buying from a pet store. If you buy a puppy based on a picture and a phone call, you have no way of seeing the puppy’s breeding premises or meeting his parents. And those who sell animals on the Internet are not held to the Animal Welfare Act regulations―and so are not inspected by the USDA.

6. Share Your Puppy Mill Story with the ASPCA
If you have—or think you have—purchased a puppy-mill puppy, please tell us your story. Every bit of evidence gives us more power to get legislation passed that will ban puppy mills.

7. Speak Out!
Inform your state and federal legislators that you are disturbed by the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and would like to see legislation passed that ensures that all animals bred to be pets are raised in healthy conditions. You can keep up-to-date about current legislation to ban puppy mills by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.

8. Tell Your Friends
If someone you know is planning on buying a puppy, please direct them to our puppy mill information at Let them know that there are perfectly healthy dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted.

9. Think Globally
Have a webpage, a MySpace page or a blog? Use these powerful tools to inform people about puppy mill cruelty by adding a link to our puppy mill information at

10. Act Locally!
When people are looking to buy or adopt a pet, they will often ask the advice of their veterinarian, groomer or pet supply store. Download and print our flyers and ask to leave them in the offices of your local practitioners.

Thursday, May 22, 2008



COPD can cause your lungs to produce excess mucus, leading to frequent coughing. Not all coughs are effective in clearing excess mucus from the lungs. Explosive or uncontrolled coughing causes airways to collapse and spasm, trapping mucus.

The effective, or controlled, cough comes from deep within the lungs and has just enough force to loosen and carry mucus through the airways without causing them to narrow and collapse. Controlled coughing saves energy and therefore, oxygen.

Controlled coughing techniqueTo cough effectively:

1. Sit on a chair or on the edge of your bed, with both feet on the floor. Lean slightly forward. Relax.
2. Fold your arms across your abdomen and breathe in slowly through your nose. (The power of the cough comes from moving air.)
3. To exhale: lean forward, pressing your arms against your abdomen. Cough 2-3* times through a slightly open mouth. Coughs should be short and sharp.
* The first cough loosens the mucus and moves it through the airways. The second and third cough enables you to cough the mucus up and out.
4. Breathe in again by "sniffing" slowly and gently through your nose. This gentle breath helps prevent mucus from moving back down your airways.
5. Rest
6. Perform again if needed.

Avoid breathing in quickly and deeply through your mouth after coughing. Quick breaths can interfere with the movement of mucus up and out of the lungs and can cause uncontrolled coughing.

Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake. When mucus is thin, coughing is easier.

Use the controlled coughing technique after you use your bronchodilator medication or any time you feel mucus (congestion).

Mucus clearing devices

If you have trouble coughing up secretions, your physician may prescribe a mucus clearing device, such as the Flutter device or the Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) valve. There are other mucus clearing devices on the market that may be prescribed by your doctor.

A mucus clearing device (such as the Flutter) helps loosen mucus in the airways so you can cough it up more easily. The Flutter consists of:

A mouthpiece
Protective cover
High-density stainless steel ball
A circular cone

When you exhale, your breath moves the steel ball inside, causing vibrations in your lungs. These vibrations loosen the mucus so it can move up and out of the airways.

The PEP valve generates variable resistance to the air you breathe out (called positive expiratory pressure). The PEP setting best for you is determined by your physician or therapist.

To use the PEP valve, place the mouthpiece in your mouth, seal your lips around it, take a deep breath using your diaphragm and breathe out slowly with a moderate force through the one-way valve for as long as you can. The increased pressure in the airways will give you the feeling to cough. When you feel the urge to cough, take a deep breath in, hold for 1-3 seconds and cough to loosen the mucus.

For more health information content, go to Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Personalized Asthma & COPD Therapy News

Personalized therapy for asthma and COPD

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have defined a new type of immune response that is activated in patients with severe asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Their discovery could dramatically improve diagnosis and therapy of patients with chronic inflammatory lung disease.

"We've cracked the first part of the molecular code that links a viral infection to the later development of chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma and COPD," says senior author Michael Holtzman, M.D., the Selma and Herman Seldin Professor of Medicine, director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and a pulmonary specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "With this information, we can more precisely diagnose and monitor these types of diseases and then better target our therapy to specific abnormalities. That's a big step forward from simply monitoring breathing status".

The findings, published online May 18, 2008, in Nature Medicine, promise a way to determine whether a patient's asthma or COPD is the result of a chronic immune response that can be turned on by a respiratory viral infection. Guided by these new findings, this type of immune response could be detected by monitoring specific types of inflammatory cells or molecules in the lung or potentially in the bloodstream, giving physicians a more precise approach to diagnosis and therapy of lung disease.

This type of testing could eventually tell physicians whether a patient's condition is mild, moderate or severe, as well as track the effectiveness of therapy. It could also lead to the development of new types of drugs that target the underlying cause of inflammatory lung disease.

"With our results, we can now work on developing more rational ways to diagnose and monitor lung conditions such as asthma and COPD," Holtzman says.

"As it stands now, the diagnosis of chronic lung disease generally depends on clinical judgment and standardized tests of lung function, but we have little that tells us what's going on in the patient's lungs at the cellular and molecular level".

Asthma and COPD are both serious lung diseases that cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and fatigue. In the United States, about 20 million people have been diagnosed with asthma and about 12 million with COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Holtzman's research aims to find therapies for these disorders that modify the underlying causes of the disease instead of simply suppressing symptoms as most present-day therapys do.

In this study, Holtzman and his colleagues observed that a common type of viral infection of the lung can leave behind a persistent trace of the virus. This viral remnant likely becomes an ongoing stimulus for a chronic immune response, which could last for long periods, even a lifetime. This response causes the cells in the lung passages to overproduce mucus and become hyper-reactive to irritants.

The research team uncovered the details of this immune process by studying mice that are infected with a respiratory virus that is very close to the type of viruses that cause similar infections in humans. When the mice got over their infection, they were left with chronic airway disease characterized by mucus production and increased airway reactivity to an inhaled irritant.

A key molecular feature of this chronic disease was the production of a powerful natural inflammatory substance, interleukin-13 (IL-13). Investigating the source of IL-13, the scientists tracked down a previously undescribed type of immune pathway. This pathway is part of the immune system that is supposed to be activated for only short periods of time. However, the researchers observed that the pathway can also be persistently activated after viral infection, likely due to the pathways ability to respond to viral remnants.

Under these conditions, they also observed that the pathway is set up to amplify its own activity. This combination of persistent activity and positive feedback leads to the long-term production of IL-13 as well as other substances that then cause continuous inflammation in the lung tissue and the development of chronic lung disease.

The team of researchers confirmed that the same immune process could also be detected in the lungs of people with severe asthma and COPD. This type of immune response is typically linked to parasitic infections and allergic disease, but here it appears to be associated with viral infection and chronic inflammatory disease. Importantly, the response produces a specific array of compounds that can be detected in the lung and likely in the blood to serve as diagnostic markers of disease. The research team is now working to verify that the profile of biomarkers for this immune response can be used to diagnose patients with asthma and COPD.

In another recent article, Holtzman and his colleagues "Now, identified another new type of immune mechanism that developed after respiratory viral infection and led to inflammatory lung disease. In this case, the virus triggered an allergic-type antibody response to cause the later development of disease. This pathway did not stay active quite as long but it still caused changes in the airways of the lungs that were similar to the disease found in humans with chronic asthma. The new findings show that patients with severe asthma and COPD may also share some mechanisms that cause their disease.

Now we have identified two new immune pathways that lead to chronic lung disease, and we already have evidence for additional pathways," Holtzman says. "Our goal is to find distinct biological markers for each pathway. This will tell us how to diagnose and what to treat. Then, we must develop therapeutics that are directed to each type of response so that physicians can deliver a therapy that is tailored to the specific type of asthma or COPD found in that patient".

Deciphering these unique immune pathways also can identify new targets for drugs that could block the harmful immune responses, as per Holtzman. He says the findings could also make drug development much more accurate.

"There appear to be a number of distinct ways to cause asthma or COPD. If an experimental drug works on only one of these causes, it is likely to fail in drug trials that include a broad range of patients," he explains. "But if we can set up trials so the test drug is targeting a specific immune response and is given only to those who have that type of response, then we can more accurately determine whether the drug is beneficial".

Monday, May 19, 2008

Top 5 Health Tips for Good Health

This came in my news letter from Gil. Gil's Health Tips. Very useful info. Enjoy!

Health Tips Top 5 for Good Health

1. Keep your Liver happy

This organ does many complex things in our body from digestion through to breaking down chemicals. Like the filter in a swimming pool, it plays a major role in clearing out the rubbish in our body.

TIP:* the juice of half a lemon in warm water when you get up in the morning is a naturopathic favourite to ‘kick start the liver’ for the day.* moderate any intake of drugs, alcohol, caffeine, fats and unnecessary pharmaceuticals.

2. Stay hydrated

Keep aiming for 1.5 –2.5 litres of positive fluid a day. More if you are exercising, have diarrhea, breast feeding. in hot weather or airconditioning.

TIP* Caffeine is a diuretic, pulling precious water out of your body. It can also interfere with the absorption/utilisation of many nutrients including calcium, iron, protein and water soluble vitamins. If you have to have it, ingest caffeinated drinks and foods at least 2 hours before or after meals and supplements.

3. Fruit and Veg

Load up your plate with at least 5-7 different vegetables and 2 fruits a day.

TIP• You can eat veges at any time not just at dinner time!

4. Exercise20-60 minutes a day, everyday for pure maintenance. For weight loss up have to up both time and intensity.

TIP• Exercise keeps your circulatory system happy, offering some prevention for heart disease and lowering unhealthy cholesterol levels

5. Stay connected

Feed your mind and soul, a happy mind creates a healthy body.

TIP* Being connected to a like minded community, regularly debriefing with family and friends, and laughter have been shown to increase quality and quantity of life in those with life challenging illnesses.

Don’t wait to get sick to start!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stem Cells and Lungs

Cord blood stem cells generate lung epithelium
by David Douglas
Last Updated: 2008-05-15 15:25:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stem cells obtained from human umbilical cord blood may make an effective alternative to adult bone marrow and embryonic stem cells for regeneration and repair of injured airway epithelium, according to findings by US and Italian researchers.

"The results of this study," senior investigator Dr. Daniel J. Weiss told Reuters Health, "demonstrate that it is possible to derive lung epithelial cells from human cord blood-origin stem cells."

As described in the April 1st issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Weiss of the University of Vermont College of Medicine Burlington, and colleagues obtained human cord blood from normal deliveries, and extracted and cultured mesenchymal stem cells in specialized airway growth media or with specific growth factors.

These cultured cells could be induced to differentially express markers of the airway epithelial phenotype including Clara cell secretory protein, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and surfactant protein C.
Systemic administration of the cultured cells to immunotolerant mice led to some localization in the airway and alveolar epithelium. In both regions, the cells acquired cytokeratin expression. Moreover, those that appeared to have engrafted as airway epithelium showed human CFTR expression.

The investigators observe that their approach appears to be comparable to using stem cells from adult bone marrow. "With further research," concluded Dr. Weiss, "we hope these cells could be utilized to repair damaged lungs in diseases such as cystic fibrosis and emphysema."
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008;177:701-711.

Acne And Emphysema/COPD

Antibiotic Commonly Used to Treat Acne Helps Emphysema Lungs

Researchers have found that doxycycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat acne, can prevent tissue damage caused by emphysema. Doxycycline boosts the body’s ability to protect against damage in the lungs.

Emphysema sufferers have unusually low levels of the protein VEGF, which helps to maintain healthy lung tissue. Researchers found that when mice with reduced levels of VEGF in the lungs were given doxycycline, they suffered minimal lung damage compared with control mice.

“The images that we have of the lungs of mice that have been treated with doxycycline are startlingly different to those that we didn’t treat.

VEGF-deficient lungs show vast pockets of tissue damage when untreated and greatly reduced damaged when treated with doxycycline,” says Ellen C Breen, PhD from the school of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Researchers stress that it is too early to say whether these findings would have a preventive role for humans with a genetic predisposition to lung disease.

Chased By Hounds

So often I feel like this COPD and Asthma are chasing me down to the point of doubting that I can continue the fight because I am tired. So tired. Well, today, a dear friend shared the following with me and I want to share it with you.


Luna (Kasey)


Chased By Hounds
E.M. Bounds
May 16, 2008

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." (Psalm 57:1)

A. C. Dixon wrote, "Rising early one morning, I heard the baying of a deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood.

A moment later, two of the hounds came over, and the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.

So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God."

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6)

E.M. Bounds

"The Necessity of Prayer"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Prevent respiratory infections
Any respiratory infection — even the common cold — can cause an acute exacerbation of COPD, so it is to your advantage to do whatever you can to avoid catching what's going around. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can reduce your risk. Alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers can also help. As much as possible, stay several feet away from people who have colds or other respiratory infections that can be spread by sneezing or coughing.

In addition to having an annual flu shot and an immunization against pneumonia every five years (see "Immunizations"), you may also benefit from antiviral medications for preventing and treating influenza, such as zanamivir (Relenza), amantadine (Symmetrel), and rimantadine (Flumadine). These drugs are not substitutes for a flu shot, but they can offer added prevention. If you get the flu, they can help reduce the severity and duration of your illness.

Exercise regularly
If you are attending a pulmonary rehab program, you will also need to exercise at home on the days you don't attend sessions. It's especially important to find an exercise that you enjoy well enough to do almost every day. Aerobic exercises, which increase the heart rate and breathing rate, are most beneficial. If you don't like the treadmill, try tai chi, yoga, swimming, or walking around your neighborhood with a friend. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day on most days. Even if you aren't in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, regular exercise helps maintain strength in your arms and legs and prevent you from becoming easily tired during physical activities.

Do breathing exercises
Another lesson from pulmonary rehabilitation that can easily become a part of your daily routine is pursed-lip breathing. This technique is valuable for helping you improve your breathing before and during physical activities. Before you start moving, inhale through your nose so deeply that your abdomen expands. Then, as you begin to move, exhale through your mouth with your lips pursed to slow down the airflow. Your exhalation should last twice as long as your inhalation. You will feel pressure in your windpipe and chest as you slowly breathe out. When you finish exhaling, rest for a moment, then inhale and start the process again.
Breathing exercises can help keep you from feeling out of breath while going up and down stairs, walking in the mall, or otherwise exerting yourself. Use breathing exercises to pace yourself through physical activities. When climbing stairs, for example, you might inhale, then climb three steps as you exhale, rest, then inhale, climb three more steps as you exhale, and so on until you have reached the top of the stairs.

Eat and drink regularly
Small meals are easier to digest and use less energy than large meals. If you have been avoiding eating because it makes you tired or out of breath, try having smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. In addition, drink plenty of water or other noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic beverages. This can help relieve congestion by thinning mucus, enabling you to cough it up more easily. There's no magic number of glasses you should drink daily; simply get into the habit of drinking regularly throughout the day.

Avoid lung irritants
An important way to control your symptoms and prevent acute exacerbations is to keep your airways from becoming irritated. Many things can irritate the airways, especially exhaust fumes from your stove, smoke from your fireplace, dry air, and molds and mildew from water damage in your home. If you have allergies, try to avoid exposure to whatever causes them — pollen, pet dander, house dust, mold, and so on.

Here are some specific tips for avoiding irritants:

Use a humidifier when the air is very dry. Moisture in the air can reduce irritation by keeping your airways moist. A humidifier is especially helpful during the winter, when the air in your home may be dry. Change the water and clean the filter of your humidifier regularly to prevent buildup of mold and bacteria.

Ventilate your home. Good ventilation can reduce the amount of irritating dust and cooking exhaust in the air. Use an exhaust fan vented outdoors when cooking. Avoid using a fireplace or wood stove; wood smoke is a lung irritant. Unless you are allergic to pollen and other outdoor allergens, keep windows open when the weather is warm enough. Fresh air not only helps ventilate your home but can also raise the humidity level. Although it would seem that air purifiers may help, there is no clear evidence that they are beneficial for people with COPD.

Have furnaces and chimneys inspected. Making sure that furnaces are operating normally can reduce the amount of smoke and fumes they emit. Having chimneys cleaned can ensure that they vent smoke and exhaust effectively.

Avoid aerosol products. Just about any aerosol (other than medicine or oxygen therapy) can irritate your airways. That includes hairspray, perfume, deodorant, paint sprayers, and insecticides. Instead of aerosol products, use gel or liquid preparations; for deodorants, use roll-on or stick forms.

Monday, May 5, 2008

COPD Green

12 Foods Where Organic Makes Sense
Avoiding the "dirty dozen" could dramatically cut your exposure to pesticides. What's the dirty dozen, you ask? It's a watch list of the 12 most pesticide-polluted fruits and veggies. Solution: Grab the organic versions. -- going organic with these 12 fruits and veggies could cut your exposure to pesticides as much as 90 percent!

Peaches and nectarines
Strawberries and cherries
Apples and pears
Imported grapes

Spinach and lettuce
Potatoes and celery
Sweet bell peppers

Beyond Pesticides
Cutting your exposure to pesticides is only one reason to go organic. La Puma says you'll be healthier, too, because some organic foods are more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts.

Tomato-y Treat That's Truly Tops
Whether it's revving up our veggie burgers or toning down our barbecue sauces, ketchup is one condiment few people could live without.So squeeze more out of it by going organic. Organic ketchup packs three times more lycopene than the regular stuff and almost twice the level of flavonoids. Here's what all that extra nutrition means for your body.

Love That Lycopene
Lycopene gives fruits (like tomatoes!) and veggies a rich red color, and it may give your body a leg up on loads of diseases -- from cancer to clogged arteries.

Organic Thought
Going organic may boost your intake of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Researchers who recently tested the antioxidant content of corn that had been grown with and without the use of pesticides found that the corn grown without the chemicals had almost 60% more flavonoids compared to the corn grown with pesticides. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant nutrient associated with reduced cancer risk.

Researchers speculate that organic produce may have more flavonoids because plants use flavonoids to defend themselves against pests and diseases. Produce grown with pesticides has less need for flavonoids and thus may produce less of them. However, organically grown produce will need to produce more flavonoids to protect itself from bugs and diseases. More research needs to be completed to confirm test results regarding the association between organically grown produce and increased flavonoid content.

Why You Should Snap Up In-Season Asparagus
Go ahead, celebrate this season's delicate asparagus spears by digging into a big pile. Why? Your pancreas will thank you. Seems that getting lots of folate -- specifically from food, not so much from supplements -- may help protect you from pancreatic cancer. And just half a cup of asparagus delivers 190 micrograms of the stuff, more than 25 percent of what you need. Your Pancreas, and MoreFolate is a member of the B-vitamin group, and it has long been touted as a heart helper. Some early research also links high folate intake to a lower risk of colon, breast, ovarian, and lung cancers.

Pancreatic cancer prevention is just the newest member of the why-we-love-folate list. (Do you know what pancreatitis is? Read up on the symptoms.)

Food Is a Factor
Folate from both food and the stuff found in supplements (folic acid) helps your heart. But in a study, when it came to defending against pancreatic cancer, only food sources seemed to have an effect. Folate-rich foods aren’t hard to come by if you go for the green -- as in artichokes, brussels sprouts, lima beans, avocados, soybeans, and broccoli. And of course, asparagus -- which is in season in many U.S. markets. Trim away the woody ends of succulent stalks, and serve them up in one of these three ways:

Steam them, and then garnish with fresh tomato for a salad alternative.
Here's a recipe from EatingWell that shows you how.

Snip them into 1-inch pieces to make this creamy-yet-creamless
Asparagus Soup.

Chop and boil them briefly, and then use the chunks to fill an omelet. (
Did you know that eggs are back on the good-for-you list?)

Go organic, go Green. To your good health and better breathing!

Remember to recycle and use earth friendly products so that our beautiful Mother Earth can breathe better, too.

Blessings to all,
Luna (Kasey)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Asthma & COPD Inhaler Use = Awakening Opportunities

Hi Everyone! This is just such a wonderfully pleasant and eye opening report that I had to share it here. What a wonderful point Mariah makes as well as giving us some smiles. Enjoy and take to heart.

Breathing Lessons
Meditation practice and using an inhaler can have surprising parallels.

By Mariah Burton Nelson

Two years ago, my doctor recommended something my Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, has been recommending since I first met her in 1984."Pay attention to your breathing," he said.

His reasons were different from Cheri's. "You have asthma," he explained.

At first, I didn't hear the part about breathing. I didn't make the connection between asthma and my spiritual path. I did not say, laughingly, as Cheri often does in response to unwelcome news, "Oh happy blessed opportunity!"

Instead, I heard "chronic incurable disease" and "daily medication for the rest of your life" and "avoid things you're allergic to, including dust, pollen, dairy products, and your beloved mutt, Rocky."

Yikes! I love my allergens! I didn't want to fear flowers and trees. I crave cheese, yogurt, milk. And there was no way I was giving up Rocky. Plus, I'm a professional speaker. I use my voice--including my breath--to earn a living. I can't cough through keynotes. And I'm an athlete. Sports require breathing. I can't have a "breathing disease"! Except--I do. Along with 15 million other Americans, I "suffer from asthma," as it says in my "You and Your Asthma" brochure.

Buddhism is "the path that leads to the extinction of suffering." Cheri says people seek enlightenment when they've suffered enough. After coughing convulsively for two months and cracking two ribs in the process, I had suffered enough. (My asthma is atypical, apparently, in that its primary symptom is coughing rather than wheezing.) So I started taking my doctor's (and Cheri's) advice.

Funny, I'd never really paid attention to my breath before. Despite more than a dozen years of meditation, I'd never questioned the fact that I rarely breathe through my nose. I knew I had allergies--and I knew, without testing, exactly what I was allergic to--but it had never occurred to me to avoid those things. Instead, I accommodated my chronic runny nose and post-nasal drip by littering my house with Kleenex boxes, stuffing pocket packs into every purse, swallowing Sudafed before any public appearance.According to my doctor, I have had "the sensitivity that produces asthma" since I was young. But I have not had the sensitivity to respond to my body's signals.

So I responded. I stopped eating dairy products. I started wearing a dust mask when I weed and mow. I began vacuuming more often. Rocky got more baths.

Best of all, my treatment program paralleled my spiritual program. It forced me to notice the moment. During those initial few weeks, I took three prescription inhalants (along with one internal steroid, prednisone). Each inhalant application involved spraying medication into my mouth or nose, then holding my breath for 10 seconds, then repeating the procedure two to four times--and two to four times a day. This added up to 24 hold-for-10 counts each day.My doctor (a Vietnamese Buddhist, by the way) taught me that how you use inhalants matters. You must shake the canister, exhale fully, spray, inhale gently, then count to 10. This sounded familiar. My meditation practice involves sitting and counting my breaths from one to 10, then starting over. So, in addition to Zen meditation, I did asthma meditation: Spray, inhale, count, exhale, repeat. Each day, 24 new opportunities to awaken. How difficult it is to inhale medicine, then count to exactly 10 without losing track! (Do other "asthma sufferers" admit this?) I expected to be "better" at this. When I was supposed to inhale this way four times in a row, I could lose count not only of the one-to-10 count but also the one-to-four count. The lesson became clear: When inhaling medication, just inhale medication. Like Zen: When chopping wood, chop wood. When breathing, breathe.

"This asthma diagnosis is the best thing that's ever happened to me!" I enthused to mother, who also happens to be a physician. Mom gently pointed out that prednisone can have an euphoric side effect. Uh-oh. You mean I'm mistaking intoxication for enlightenment? I hate it when that happens. But about two years later, I'm here to report that the euphoria has lasted. Especially on the way to sleep, I can feel almost giddy about this simple experience: unobstructed nasal breathing. For the first time in my life, my sinuses feel as wide open as garden hoses, as empty as the mind between thoughts. What a miracle to breathe with my mouth closed! What ecstasy to feel oxygen ascend through both nostrils at once! How pleasant not to drool on the pillow!

Paying attention is also paying off in other ways. My coughing has subsided. And I no longer need the medication on a daily basis, just occasionally. Paying attention to those allergens, and avoiding them, seems to be doing the trick. Fortunately, I don't have a life-threatening form of asthma. Therefore, paying attention to my breath and my health will not extend my life expectancy. Nor will such attention guarantee that I'll stop suffering entirely--from coughing, congestion, or other human frailties like shame or greed.

But for me, so far, the promise of asthma seems to be this: Each day for the rest of my life, I will focus, at least for a little while, on my breathing, on my body, on these precious moments of being alive.

A happy blessed opportunity indeed.