News and Social Media » Blog

The mission of our blog is to keep you updated on all the latest and most interesting health information.

 

View all entries

Doorways Make Me Forget?

1-19-2011

Ever walk through a doorway, and have no idea what you came in the room for? Apparently, it is not just you.

It seems some astute researchers from the University of Notre Dame noticed many people have this issue, and decided to look into it further.

Working with college students (college students love to do research ), the researchers had them passing from room to room, while giving them tests to find out how their memory was affected. What they found was our brain compartmentalizes information based in part on the environment you are in to create a memory framework.

Click Here for More info from the University of Notre Dame


PermaLink




11/18/14

Whole Finance: How Values-Driven Divestment Created the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Market




I sat down with SRI expert, Katherine Burstein, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst ®) and Financial Advisor at Pell Wealth Partners in New York City (http://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/katherine.burstein/) to better understand how one matches profit to personal values.


Anne Williams: What are the differences between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Impact Investing (II) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factor investing?

Katherine Burstein: SRI has traditionally connoted negative screening: e.g. not investing in weaponry, tobacco or other industries in conflict with an investor’s values.

The SRI industry got its start in the 1980s as part of the anti-apartheid movement. Over time, it began to represent positive as well as negative screening, with investors seeking out companies that proactively promote certain value sets. This would include practices such as treating workers above industry standard or employing innovative technology that conserves energy and water.

II is primarily associated with positive screening that is directly linked to measurable social or environmental outcomes. For example, a company might set in motion a program to meet a stated quantifiable reduction in gas emissions over a five-year period.

ESG factor investing is also mostly indicative of positive screening and currently acts as an umbrella term for the values-conscious investor. ESG factors are the parameters that socially responsible and impact investors use to analyze companies. ESG factors include issues such as sustainable use of natural resources, pollution prevention, labor relations, gender equality, diversity, human rights, responsible lending, transparency and shareholder rights, among many other factors.

AW: How are ESG factors currently analyzed?

KB: Analysis of ESG factors within a given company is largely dependent upon voluntary reports. Some companies provide a lot of information others very little or in vague terms. Data providers such as MSCI and Bloomberg now collect ESG data points from publicly traded companies and make the data available to their subscribers.

Much of the data analysis comes from the academic realm – for example, Harvard Business School – in addition to the financial sector itself.

AW: What have been the obstacles to including ESG factors in financial analysis?

KB: In large part, tradition. The historical mindset has been that values and profit are at odds. We now have data that demonstrates that there can be an economic benefit to values-based investment choices.

For example, we now have good data that suggests having women in leadership can be an indicator of higher profit and lower risk for companies. The value of diversity has resulted in the creation of several funds focused on companies that support and maintain the advancement of women.

We have also seen data that negative screening (excluding companies with poor ESG performance) can help moderate downside risk in a portfolio. One example would be the BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. MSCI, an ESG factor data provider who assigns ESG scores to companies, rated BP’s Health and Safety record in the lowest quartile before the 2010 spill, giving subscribers the option in advance to move their money to other companies.

AW: How might ESG factor analysis become more standardized within the financial industry?

KB: Advisory boards such as SASB (the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) have been created to encourage more standardized reporting on corporations’ ESG performance. Over time, this movement may make it easier for investors to gain standardized information and make more informed decisions.

AW: For an individual who wants to start by making small steps into the SRI arena, where would you suggest beginning?

KB: Take a moment to consider where might be areas of opportunity in your investment portfolio that align with your overall goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Whether it be your local bank, your financial advisor, or online lists of socially responsible mutual funds (see http://charts.ussif.org/mfpc/, for example), there are many resources available for those just getting started.

Another way to get involved would be speaking up at the institution where you work or at your alma mater (college or university). If that organization holds investments through a pension plan, or endowment, and you are a stakeholder in some way, you can provide feedback that sustainability is important to you.

AW: Parting words?

KB: Thanks for talking with me, Anne! I’d like to point out that sustainability is one parameter of evaluating an investment and it is important to remember that there is no perfect company. For example, a retail company may have an advanced system for reducing waste in its supply chain, but may also have issues with employee relations. Or an energy company be making strides towards renewable, clean energy solutions, but also have issues with transparency and communicating with shareholders.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a company is sustainable, doesn’t always mean it’s a good investment. It’s always to consider investment options within the context of an overall financial plan suited to your unique goals.

For those interested, more information on this topic can be found in the Green Money Journal (http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com), the USSIF (Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment - http://www.ussif.org/), Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/sustainability/) and the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) ESG indexes (http://www.msci.com/products/indexes/esg/).

Katherine Burstein, CFA, specializes in Socially Responsible and Impact Investing with the aim of not only helping clients achieve financial and life goals, but also social and environmental ones through generating positive social and environmental impact. Learn more about Katherine here: http://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/katherine.burstein/.

Dr. Anne Williams, ND is a natural health expert who specializes in women’s health and cardiovascular disease. She helps her patients live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here


PermaLink



11/08/14

How Does Your Gut Flora Affect Your Mood?

6 Steps You Can Take

Psychology Today Blog 11-08-2014

What do the germs in your digestive tract have to do with anxiety and depression?

What can you do to help them thelp your mood?

Click below and find out

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE


PermaLink



08/25/14

Probiotics for Preventing the Sniffles: Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

August 25, 2014



by Dr. Anne Williams

The Japan Pediatric Society recently reported that twice daily supplementation with probiotics was able to “significantly lower risk of fever, cough,” runny nose and school absence in children 8-13 years of age.

Preventing the severity of viral infections such as the common cold can also prevent the likelihood of secondary infections such as sinusitis and middle ear infections.

In addition to the immune-boosting effects against viral infections, probiotics have also been found to reduce the incidence of allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergy symptoms in children.

Treating the digestive system is a common way to support the immune and respiratory system in Chinese medicine. Once again, we see ancient wisdom corroborated by modern research.



Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Williams here: here

References:

Pediatr Int. 2012 Oct54(5):682-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2012.03647.x. Epub 2012 Jul 10.
Randomized controlled trial of probiotics to reduce common cold in schoolchildren.
Rerksuppaphol S1, Rerksuppaphol L.

Pediatr Res. 2007 Aug62(2):215-20.
A randomized prospective double blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in pre-school children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis.
Giovannini M1, Agostoni C, Riva E, Salvini F, Ruscitto A, Zuccotti GV, Radaelli G Felicita Study Group.




PermaLink



08/20/14

Simple Steps for Back-To-School Preparation: Routine

August 20, 2014

Anne Williams, ND, LAc


Studies show that one of the best ways to support your children's academic performance and personal growth is with reliable structure. Especially by providing a consistent bedtime and mealtime. Poor grades in school and depression are strongly correlated with irregular patterns.

Children respond well to a routine that they can depend on in the face of the many changing factors in their school environment. All change results in stress on the body and the home environment is one place that can provide a sense of rest and repose. Restorative home time allows kids to have the energy to be more flexible in other situations.

Though complaints are frequent with bed and mealtime routines, remember that hindsight is usually 20/20 and your kids will most likely thank you, even if that thanks only comes years from now.

An added bonus for mom comes with bedtime routine. It appears that not only children benefit through improved sleep quality but mom’s mood improves as well.



Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here

References:
The Prince’s Trust Youth Index 2012.

Sleep. 2009 May32(5):599-606.
A nightly bedtime routine: impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood.
Mindell JA1, Telofski LS, Wiegand B, Kurtz ES.


PermaLink



08/18/14

Coffee Good or Bad? Dr. Peter Bongiorno interviewed by Natural Health Magazine

08.18.2014

Is coffee good for you?

Does Dr. Peter drink coffee?

Find out by clicking below…

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT COFFEE


PermaLink



08/14/14

Robin Williams' Loss and Holistic Care for Depression

08.14.2014 on Psychology Today

"Why do I stand up here? Anybody?
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way."
– Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams' brilliance left us way too early. Here are some steps to help us consider a more holistic and integrative model to deal with severe depression.

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE ON PSYCHOLOGY TODAY


PermaLink



08/05/14

Pregnancy Preparation

Research shows that a healthy pregnancy begins months prior to conception. It is in this pre-pregnancy time that a mom-to-be can begin healthy lifestyle choices. Especially important are improving the basics of health, such as diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation work, to help ensure a healthy start for the baby and a safe pregnancy for the mother.
Throughout the pregnancy it is important to maintain a healthy weight for your height and body type. Gentle exercise and a healthy diet will keep your body functioning at an optimal level. Nutrient-dense foods can help achieve this goal while avoiding excess weight gain, which would decrease the risk of blood sugar problems while pregnant, known as gestational diabetes.
Methylated folate may be the most important supplement needed for women of childbearing age. A minimum of 400 mcg per day is needed before and during pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. What most doctors do not even know is that common folic acid, the form found in most prenatal vitamins, may actually be useless to some woman who posses a defect in their MTHFR gene. This gene is needed to convert inactive folic acid to the active form, methylfolate. When the gene is defective, it can also lead to blood clots during pregnancy and miscarriages. A simple blood test can identify women with MTHFR defects. For all pre-pregnant, and pregnant women, excellent natural sources of the right folate forms include: beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, and avocado.
For the best care be sure to speak to your doctor regarding a prenatal vitamin and healthy lifestyle habits.


References:

"Recommendations." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Jan. 2012. Web. 12 July 2014.

Dr. Lynch, "Is MTHFR Affecting Your Pregnancy?" MTHFRNet. N.p., 24 May 2013. Web. 12 July 2014.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Siobhan Hanlon


PermaLink



07/14/14

Keep Cool in Summer with Cooling Foods and Spicy and Pungent Herbs

Summer is definitely here and with it, the heat and humidity. Many people find the heat very uncomfortable and even fatiguing. Chinese Medicine offers wonderful solutions on how to stay comfortable, no matter in the environment we may find ourselves.

In the tradition of Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with an element. Appropriately, summer is associated with the element of fire. This makes sense, for the chief environmental factor in summer is quite obviously heat. When in balance, some heat can be good for us, but for many, too much heat can accumulate in the body and contribute to many common maladies. For example, heat in the body can contribute to sleep difficulties, irritability, skin irritations, restlessness and a host of other discomforts.

Staying hydrated is the best way to stay cool during the summer. The bounty of fruits and vegetables available in summer is a great resource. Watermelons and cucumbers, in particular are very helpful. These stars of the summer fruit world are cooling in nature and have the added benefit of helping replenish body fluids.

Another climatic factor in summer is humidity. Humidity can make you feel heavy-headed, sluggish and promote water retention (swelling). Pungent herbs help move energy upward and outward to the periphery of the body. The pungent flavor opens the pores so the body can cool down. Cooling or neutral pungent foods like mint, turnips, radish and kohlrabi can help keep internal humidity at bay. Other great summer pungent selection are basil and dill.

Many people think spicy foods will make you hotter. In fact, the spicy stuff can actually cool you down. Spicier options like hot peppers, chilies and fresh ginger will help open the pores and allow us to perspire and release heat. This is a classic strategy for keeping a feeling of coolness. Remember, with these hotter choices a little can go a long way. Moderation is key.

Summer is a season of expansion, growth and outward activity. Engage with others. laugh, enjoy the bounty of nature, and play just for the heck of it. And to keep in balance with the heat and humidity remember your:

* cooling foods to keep heat at bay: watermelon, cucumber, celery,
tomato, leafy greens, kiwi, mung bean, mung bean sprout and zucchini

* spices to help release heat: hot peppers, chilies and fresh ginger

* pungent herbs for humidity and swelling: basil, dill, peppermint, turnips, radish and turnip and radish leaves, lemon and tangerine zest, kohlrabi and green tea


about the author: Cynthia Hewett LAc, Cert Herb brings her gentle blend of healing using Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, individualized Chinese Medicine formulas and Cranial sacral therapy. She practices at Inner Source Health in New York City. Click to learn more about Cynthia here


PermaLink



07/06/14

A Cold Splash - Hydrotherapy for Depression and Anxiety

07.06.2014

Read Dr. Peter's blog on Psychology Today explaining how a good old shower and some naturopathic wisdom can help anxiety and depression.

CLICK HERE TO READ POST


PermaLink



06/11/14

ADHD an immune and gastrointestinal disease? Looking beyond the neurological.

6.11.14

A recent report in the journal European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, pointed to a more complex origin for attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder. The journal pointed out that children with ADHD commonly suffer from immune disorders, that the genes linked to ADHD affect the immune system and that higher levels of immune-mediated inflammation can lead to ADHD symptoms.

Children with ADHD are known to have a greater incidence of gastrointestinal upset and irregularity – independent of pharmacological treatment.

This research is an encouraging step toward widening the lens on childhood illness. Instead of a linear “1 pill to control 1 mechanism” approach, the human body can be seen more completely – as a dynamic complex organism.

Confirming the wisdom of holistic naturopathic approaches to illness and dysfunction, treating the whole person is truly treating the whole disease.



Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 4. [Epub ahead of print]
Nutrition, immunological mechanisms and dietary immunomodulation in ADHD.
Verlaet AA1, Noriega DB, Hermans N, Savelkoul HF.

Pediatrics. 2013 Nov132(5):e1210-5. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1580. Epub 2013 Oct 21.
Association of constipation and fecal incontinence with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
McKeown C1, Hisle-Gorman E, Eide M, Gorman GH, Nylund CM.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



PermaLink