Health and Healthcare

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 7/4/13 at 12:22 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Governed by Addiction

By Phillip Jensen

Even in a fallen world there is great joy in living. God has created a wonderful world in which his pleasures seem prodigal in their distribution. At every turn there are more things to enjoy. While sin mars and distorts our joys, it does not seem to overcome them.

Amongst the pleasures of this world are eating and drinking. For God has created all foods “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:3-4). While endless TV cooking shows exhibit our sinful preoccupation with what we eat and what we drink (Matthew 6:25f), there is nothing wrong with finding joy in preparing food nor pleasure in eating it. Indeed, food generously and thoughtfully prepared for others’ enjoyment can be one of the great ways of expressing our loving service.

Food and drink are more than simply fuelling the body; they are a means of feasting and fellowship. With food and drink we celebrate the joys of life and mourn its sorrows. When the prodigal returned, his father gathered friends to share in eating the fatted calf. At a wedding Jesus created the best wine. For food and drink affect and change our moods as well as fill our stomachs. FULL POST

Posted 6/19/13 at 12:24 PM | Bright Ideas

5.2 Million Americans Have Alzheimer's Disease

Mental health problems in America present a challenge to the Church. Since more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, churches are starting ministries to assist the victims and the caregivers of dementia.

In 2011 Grace Church (where John MacArthur is pastor) reported on its website: "To this end, a few months ago we began a ministry specifically for those families who are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. We meet here at the church at 9 a.m. on the last Saturday of each month. Our goal is to provide spiritual and practical encouragement to both caregivers and their loved one who is suffering from the disease."

I have a personal interest in mental health issues since both of my parents have mental illnesses. After 5 years of taking care of our parents, my sister recently decided to put them in a nursing home. This was a tough decision for her to make.

This infographic from Regency Park Assisted Living reports, "Every 68 seconds someone in the United States will develop Alzheimer's disease." The infographic also shows that an estimated 450,000 Americans with Alzheimer's are expected to die in 2013. FULL POST

Posted 6/17/13 at 12:55 PM | Bright Ideas |

1 comment

Unclean Water Kills Almost 30,000 People Each Week

One of my favorite Bible stories occurred when a Samaritan woman went to a well to collect water and met Jesus. This event happened almost 2,000 years ago and still many people around the world must collect water in a similar manner.

According to UNESCO, "Water is life. Yet 768 million people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation. When water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can kill."

Besides government agencies there are Christian charitable organizations developing clean water projects for people with limited access to safe drinking water.

Compassion Internation's  Compassion Water for Life project provides water to 650,000 people. The following infographic shows that $6 million has been given to this project and it has funded clean water development in 23 countries.


Posted 6/13/13 at 11:18 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |


Silent Sufferers: Recovering From Pain of Abortion

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography - Creative Commons

By Debby Efurd

You hear it everyday … TV, radio, internet, newspapers. Forty years after legalization in the United States, abortion remains a hot and divisive issue. But in the wake of the over 55 million abortions having been performed in the United States since 1973, remain the multitudes of “silent sufferers,” for whom abortion has been a traumatic life-changing experience.

Who are these “silent sufferers”? They are family members, neighbors, co-workers, those sitting next to us in church. With 43% of American women having had an abortion, there is a strong likelihood that half of the people you come in contact with have been affected from their decision to abort, many exhibiting symptoms of Post Abortion Stress.

Haven’t heard of Post Abortion Stress? Not surprising. We hear about the effect on babies that are aborted, but little attention is paid to what happens after to those that are left behind living with the decision. Post Abortion Stress is a term first coined in 1981 from a group of researchers who reported, and peer-reviewed research increasingly confirms since, that abortion functions as a stress that places women at higher risk for developing a range of mental health problems, such as depression, loss of self-esteem, self-destructive behavior, self-hatred, drug and alcohol abuse, sleep disorders, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, chronic problems with relationships, dramatic personality changes, anxiety attacks, guilt and remorse, difficulty grieving, increased tendency toward violence, chronic crying, difficulty concentrating, flashbacks, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and people, and difficulty bonding with later children. It is not uncommon that symptoms lay dormant until later in life. FULL POST

Posted 6/10/13 at 12:34 PM | Trey Dimsdale, J.D.

Organ Donation Policy and the "Hard Cases"

Many people have followed the heart-wrenching case of Sarah Murnaghan for the past several weeks and most of those people have been hoping and praying for a miracle. Sarah is the 10-year old little girl who has been very near death in a Philadelphia children’s hospital awaiting a lung transplant. According to the rules that govern organ transplantation, Sarah is two years shy of the birthday that would allow her to be considered for an adult pair of lungs, so she is forced to wait for a rare set of pediatric lungs while patients in less dire need receive lungs from adult donors. The media has taken up Sarah’s cause and even the United States House of Representatives has gotten involved. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the government official with the authority to suspend the rules that keep Sarah at a disadvantage in her wait for organs, appeared by a House panel last week. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania urged the Secretary, "I'm begging you. ... She has three to five weeks to live. Please suspend the rules.” Sebelius acknowledged that his is an "incredibly agonizing situation”, but reiterated that she cannot suspend the rules in this case. The family, however, appealed to a federal court on Wednesday, June 3 and the court ordered Sebelius to lift the application of the rule in this case.
As a parent, I sympathize with the Murnaghan family. No parent can blame them for seeking to move heaven and earth to save their daughter. In fact, their selfless dedication to their daughter is refreshing in a world that seems to marginalize children and allows (and often encourages) parents to kill their unborn children who have the same disease that imperils Sarah’s life. That being said, however, this is a rare case in which I agree with Kathleen Sebelius. I am fully aware that Sebelius’s course of action means certain death for Sarah, which means that it is not a course that should be taken easily or lightly, but it is one that needs to be taken dispassionately and distantly.
If Sebelius had lifted the rule in this one emotionally charged case, what then does she do in the next emotionally charged case? One unique thing about this topic is that every decision made about organ donation is a life and death decision. When ten people need an organ, only one can receive it and the other nine cannot. The rules are in place to ensure that all ten of those candidates have the best chance of survival. It may be that because one rather than the other receives the organ, someone will die, but the rules must strike a balance and be based on factors that are very unsettling to consider.
Organs are allocated in a way that considers several factors. A patient who likely will die of cancer within six months will not be a viable candidate for a heart transplant when the heart that they have would otherwise keep them alive for two more years. This is not to say that that patient’s life is not valuable. Of course it is, but the person who can be given the same heart and be expected to live for fifteen more years is equally as valuable and the organ has the chance to give more life, more happiness, and do more good in the second patient rather than the first. These are the types of decisions that are hard, that wreak of utilitarian paternalism, but are none-the-less necessary. Dispassionate and rigid rules which are based on likely outcomes insulate these terribly agonizing decisions from being made on the basis on irrlevant factors.
Had Sebelius granted the waiver, she would invited a flood of appeals for similar treatment and at the point that a rule has so many exceptions, the rule simply ceases to exist. The federal court in this instance did no favors to the system and in the wake of the court’s ruling, other similar motions have been filed for other patients. As dispassionate as judges and bureaucrats try to be, they are still human and can be moved by emotionally charged stories. The best system is one that regularly reviews medical statistics and forms rules for organ donation based on the assumption that the maximum prolongation of life is an unambiguous good. It is easy to advocate for a suffering and dying ten year old girl, but how many would rush to defend the appeal of a war criminal or serial killer seeking a bureaucratic or judicial exemption to the rule? Rules based on available technology, likely outcomes, and respect for all life will keep any of us from ever being forced to do either.

Posted 6/6/13 at 10:01 AM | Brian Wallace

Pollen, Pollen Everywhere!

26 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies each year, but there are things we can do to reduce the impact they have on our lives. Some of the factors that have an impact on the effects of allergies include location, diet, and washing your hair. To learn more about allergies and the steps you can take to reduce their effect, check out the infographic below presented by

Posted 6/5/13 at 11:57 PM | Barry Bowen

My Parents Loved Literature and Storytelling

Photo: Flickr/Kodomut - Creative Commons
Volunteer reads to children in a Singapore library.

The Jerusalem Post has published an article with the headline '1 in 4 kids go to bed without a story.' The article reports that a survey determined "that most children prefer games or television to books."

I was blessed to have parents that loved to read. Since it took us more than 8 hours to drive to my grandparents houses, my mom would read a book to us on these family trips. Sometimes she read Christian novels. Other times she would read short stories or autobiographies of famous Christians.

I grew up with stories of people like Brother Andrew who smuggled Bibles into communist countries and spoke out for persecuted Christians.

I wonder if people were captivated by the parables Jesus spoke. I wonder if they went home and discussed the meaning of these short stories.

In some countries it is popular for Christian missionaries to serve as biblical storytellers. Since many people cannot read, they learn by hearing the stories which are repeated until they can re-tell the Bible story for others.

According to Wikipedia, "Modern Biblical storytelling as a discipline may be traced to Tom Boomershine, a longtime professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio who experimented with the idea of memorising stories in the Bible and performing them during his years in seminary."

Posted 5/30/13 at 12:10 PM | Dale Fletcher |

1 comment

Lonely? How Are You Filling the Hole in Your Heart?

The Pain of Loneliness - The Health Risks of Feeling Isolated are Physical, Not Just Emotional. This was the title of an article that appeared in the Charlotte Observer newspaper the other day. It was written by Jane Brody, health columnist for the New York Times. The title of her original article as it appeared in the NY Times was Shaking Off Loneliness. Brody writes, "I filled my lonely nights with food - Anything I could get my hands on, especially candy, cookies and ice cream. Food fulled the hole in my soul, at least temporarily"

What the Research Says About Loneliness and Health

Her article referenced one study where researchers noted that those who scored high on a loneliness scale ate substantially more fatty foods than those who scored low. "Is it any wonder that we turn to ice cream or other fatty foods when we're sitting at home feeling all alone in the world?" says psychologist John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago. He also indicates that lonely individuals tend to do whatever they can to make themselves feel better, if only for the moment. He says that they may overeat, drink too much, smoke, speed or engage in indiscriminate sex. FULL POST

Posted 5/27/13 at 4:30 AM | Sylvie Simms

Ways To Keep Yourself Feeling Young

The aging process is a daunting and unwanted progression of life. Not only does it affect your appearance, it affects your memory as well. Factors from the environment as well as the foods you consume have a huge role in how gracefully you can age. There are multiple steps you can take to not only slow down the aging process, but reverse it as well. Staying away from environmental extremes, exercising, having a balanced diet, sleeping well, and taking appropriate supplements are just a few of the options available to look your best as you mature. Taking vitamins and acquiring a new skill, like signing up for a dance class or working on a crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper, can help sharpen your ability to pay attention and prevent age-related memory loss. In the U.S., one in eight Americans are 65 and over, with the average life expectancy in 1997 being 77 years old. Today, with multiple and readily available improvements to slow down the aging process, we’re well on our way to successfully improving the average lifespan to 100.

Posted 5/24/13 at 4:09 PM | Dale Fletcher |


Weight Loss and The Holy Spirit

This week, Jane Brody, a health columnist at the New York Times, wrote an article about obesity - Many Fronts in Fighting Obesity. She addressed many issues that in fact play a role in one's ability to win the battle with weight loss:

  • Caloric consumption
  • Portion control
  • The use of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Eating home-cooked meals less frequently
  • A misunderstanding of fat, sugar and caloric content of foods
  • Evolution's impact on caloric consumption
  • The impact of one's willpower on weight loss

Concerning the last bullet, Brody writes the following:

Willpower rarely helps people who struggle with their weight. With constant temptations to eat more, and especially more high-calorie foods, our society must change.

Her comment about willpower in regards to weight loss is what prompted me to write this post. I agree with her comment about willpower. Our society must change if we are going to beat the obesity epidemic. But, the changes we need to make to help with weight loss should not be in our own strength.

More people in our society could benefit from turning to our Creator, God, for the help they need in their challenge with eating and physical activity issues as it regards weight loss. FULL POST

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