I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to return home safely.
WAS JESUS BORN IN BETHLEHEM?
This is not a counseling article, but some of you may have heard the controversy that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, or even the controversy that the town of Bethlehem did not even exist. This expert sorts through the controversies and concludes that we do not have to give up our beliefs that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem. And his statement about inns is correct: the Greek word translated “there was no room in the inn” could mean house as well, and so Joseph may have been hoping to stay with a relative when he went to Bethlehem, but all of his relatives guest rooms may have been filled. Click here to read full article.
Interesting Quote from David Sedaris: “As a child I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts.”
Moderate Alcohol's Health Benefits Look Increasingly Doubtful
It has long been thought that small to moderate amounts of alcohol (defined as 1 to 2 drinks per day) may be beneficial, but a series of different studies and evaluations of former studies has suggested that this may not be the case. This article suggests that we look at alcohol in the same way we look at junk food—occasional use is probably okay but having one or two drinks per day is no longer considered beneficial. Click here to read full article.
USA Swimming official quits over transgender swimmer Lia Thomas: ‘I can’t support this’
The controversy of whether transgender females should be allowed to compete against other females in competitions gets added support when this swimming official with three decades of experience quits and adds her comments to the discussion. Click here to read full article.
‘Schizophrenia’ Still Carries a Stigma. Will Changing the Name Help?
There is now some push to consider changing the name for schizophrenia to something else, believing that schizophrenia conjures up stigmatizing adjectives such as hopelessness, dangerousness, unhygienic, amoral and volatile. (Since this article is in the New York Times and those of you without a subscription will be unable to view it, I’ll include a little more detail than I do with other articles.) Name changes have occasionally been made with other disorders such as manic-depressive illness and mental retardation. Some alternative names that have been suggested, such as altered perception disorder, attunement disorder, disconnectivity syndrome, integration disorder and psychosis spectrum disorder. None of these have majority support from those who want a name change.
There is also concern that such a change would make it harder to get services or might delay recognition and treatment for the first psychotic episode. There is also concern that the stigma could move to another name if that were given.
There are a lot of hurdles to be overcome before a name change would become widely accepted, including acceptance by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-6) and the World Health Organization (International Classification of Diseases). So at this point I only include this discussion so you know about the controversy, not because such a change is imminent. Click here to read full article.
She Was In A Coma For YEARS. What She Said When She Woke Up Shocked Them All!
I’m not sure why this headline is written the way it is, because it seems from the story that this wife and mother was in a coma for 12 days, not years. But if you take the time to read the story, it makes two very important points for all of us. Click here to read full article.
The Road to Recovery: Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Long COVID
If you have a client who appears to be experiencing “long COVID” this is an informative article on the psychological symptoms they may be experiencing. Click here to read full article.
What I Wish My Parents Had Known about Bipolar
In an earlier newsletter I discussed the idea that parents of a child with ADHD do not do their children a service by denying their child has ADHD and failing to get them appropriate treatment.
Here is a similar story about a child with bipolar disorder whose parents rejected their psychiatrist’s diagnosis and treatment recommendations because they saw their child’s manic symptoms and concluded that she couldn’t be depressed. Be aware that parents may sometimes reject your diagnosis for the same reason, and help them know that children with bipolar disorder have both highs and lows, but the highs do not mean their child doesn’t also have periods of depression. In fact, in most people with bipolar disorder spend much more time in the depressed phase than they do in the manic one. Click here to read full article.
An Overlooked Cure for Loneliness
Since this is from the New York Times, you may not be able to access it. I’ll copy just a few sentences from the article, that summarize the main point, and a point that is very consistent with Christian teaching.
“Among older adults, social isolation and loneliness are associated with higher rates of mortality, depression and cognitive decline.
“Experts say that volunteering not only helps people feel less lonely, it can also improve physical well-being.
“A five-year study of more than 800 people in Detroit found that helping others who don’t live with you can act as a buffer against the negative effects of stress. Although the study participants encountered stressful life events like illness, job loss or financial difficulties, those who spent time doing tasks for others — like errands, child care and housework — were less likely to die than those who had not helped others.”
So often, lonely people think others must do things for them in order to feel less lonely. This research says that reaching out and helping others is actually a good way to feel less lonely. Click here to read full article.
Atheist Society in Kenya Loses Leader to Christ
We often hear about believers abandoning their faith in Christ. It is encouraging to sometimes hear the stories of atheists doing the opposite. Click here to read full article.
TikTok is enticing kids into having trans surgeries, take cross-sex hormones: child advocates warn
Another reason to encourage parents to not allow their children to access TikTok. Apparently 26 billion people have accessed the TikTok site which tells children and teens that changing genders is easy and will be the solution to all their problems. Click here to read full article.
Coronavirus Can Spread to Heart, Brain Days After Infection
This study found that COVID-19 can spread to multiple body systems, including the heart and brain after an infection, providing a potential explanation for the wide variety of symptoms sometimes experienced by people who have “long COVID.” Click here to read full article.
Efficacy of Yoga vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs Stress Education for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial
This research study compared the effectiveness of CBT versus kundalini yoga versus a control condition (stress education) for treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Both treatments were more effective than stress education, and CBT was more effective than kundalini yoga. Click here to read full article.
The Year in Fitness: Shorter Workouts, Greater Clarity, Longer Lives
Since this is from the New York Times, I’ll summarize the most important points. The author is Grechen Reynolds. Research continues to point to the fact that we will probably live longer, be healthier, and maintain greater cognitive ability if we exercise. And the research shows that even shorter, intense workouts can be helpful. One study found that even five minutes of intense calisthenics improved college students functioning. Another study found that even four seconds of ferocious pedaling (yes, four seconds), repeated several times, improved conditioning and strength for people of any age.
It is not necessary to walk 10,000 steps per day to achieve maximum benefit. The research says that 7,000 steps is adequate. The 10,000 steps per day is a myth, although it probably won’t hurt you unless you have hip or knee problems.
On the downside, we probably don’t burn as many calories when exercising as we thought. When we exercise, the body shunts energy to the muscles and away from storage, so we probably lose about 25% less calories than we thought. But on the upside, even overweight people who started exercising lowered their mortality risk by 30%. And exercise strengthened their immune system and decreased the likelihood of developing dementia.
So exercise as much as your schedule and energy allows. You’ll be glad you did!
Best wishes for the New Year!