eLetter From John P

Mind-Body Therapies

Parade magazine a couple months ago reported on mind-body therapies that have scientific backing as being helpful. This backing comes by way of scientific studies using the scientific method. Given that 62 percent of Americans use alternative medicine (according to National Institute of Health), that some of these methods have studies backing them up is a source of encouragement.

The Parade article pointed to three of the mind-body therapies that have "passed the litmus test of rigorous medical inquiry." These are:

meditation, biofeedback, and acupuncture. Below is the data given about these methods, often using the article’s words.

* Meditation. Activates the relaxation response and improves

blood pressure and hormonal balance. Can also help with insulin, blood sugar, and heart health. Can improve concentration, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Makes the brain waves become more calm.

* Biofeedback. Uses a small hand-held machine with sensors that monitor body functions, such as pulse rate or skin temperature. These rates show up on the small screen. By controlling your thoughts, you can learn to control the rates on the screen. According to studies, biofeedback can be used to improve blood pressure, stress, tension headaches, and back pain.

* Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese treatment with small skinny sterile needles placed into the skin. Studies find this method effective in pain reduction for knee arthritis, and also to help against the suffering of post traumatic stress disorder. Western science assumes that acupuncture works by triggering hormone-like chemicals in the nervous system that affect our mood and perception of pain.

SOURCE: Parade (December 14, 2008)


The Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a webpage on Supported Employment that goes along with its general section on employment. The webpage is at this address:


Autism Proceeding Decisions

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims announced their decision in three cases heard before the Court on the MMR/thimerosal theory of autism causation. The decisions and background information can be found at http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/node/5026.

The following statement was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the decisions.

Statement from the Department of Health and Human Services Regarding the Decisions of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding

As these cases illustrated, there’s no doubt that autism and autism spectrum disorders place a heavy burden on many families. That is one reason why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to support research to better understand the cause of autistic disorders and develop more effective methods of treatment.

The medical and scientific communities have carefully and thoroughly reviewed the evidence concerning the vaccine-autism theory and have found no association between vaccines and autism. If parents have questions or concerns about childhood vaccines, they should talk with their child’s health care provider.

Hopefully, the determination by the Special Masters will help reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism.

More information about autism and autism spectrum disorders can be found at www.hhs.gov/autism.

per NIH

Inspired by Film

Inspired by Film, Orchestras Mobilize to Fight Hunger

More than 160 orchestras in 45 states are expected to take part in food drives in advance of the spring release of a movie about a Juilliard-trained musician with schizophrenia who becomes homeless, the Associated Press reports.

The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. and scheduled for release April 24, “reminds us that classical music has the power to sustain spirits and change lives, even under the most difficult circumstances,” said Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras. Food collected in drives beginning in late March will be distributed to local organizations through the national antihunger network Feeding America.

Submitted by Jon T.