Transforming Lives Through Positive Psychology | Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Mental health has become a cornerstone of well-being in today’s fast-paced world. It’s not just about managing life’s obstacles; it’s about finding purpose, embracing happiness, and thriving despite challenges. Positive psychology is a field of study that focuses on the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, a true luminary in this holistic approach, has left an indelible mark on the field. Her accomplishments as an author, filmmaker, and psychologist are a testament to her unwavering dedication to helping others find true happiness.

air pollution

Study Finds Air Pollution Can Decrease Chances Of Live Birth After IVF

According to a new study, exposure to air pollution can significantly decrease the likelihood of live birth after IVF treatment. The study’s research has been ongoing to observe the negative health impacts of toxic air on fertility. 

Exposure to pollutants in the air has been previously linked to increased miscarriage rates, preterm births, and the presence of microscopic soot particles in the bloodstream, ovaries, and the placenta, according to reports from The Guardian.

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“We observed that the odds of having a baby after a frozen embryo transfer were more than a third lower for women who were exposed to the highest levels of particulate matter air pollution prior to egg collection, compared with those exposed to the lowest levels,” said Dr Sebastian Leathersich, a fertility specialist and gynecologist from Perth. 

Dr. Leathersich is also set to present the study findings on Monday at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting in Amsterdam.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that air pollution is currently one of the leading threats to human health in general, and has caused 6.7 million deaths in 2019. 

“Pollution is harmful to almost all aspects of human health and it’s no surprise to me that reproductive health is also affected,” Leathersich said. 

“I’m hopeful that these findings will help to highlight the urgency of the situation – that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to human reproductive health, even at so-called safe levels.”

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“These findings [also] suggest that pollution negatively affects the quality of the eggs, not just the early stages of pregnancy, which is a distinction that has not been previously reported,” Leathersich said.

Professor Jonathan Grigg led a group at Queen Mary University of London which uncovered evidence that air pollution particles are found in the placenta.

“This study is biologically plausible since it has recently been discovered that inhaled fossil-fuel particles move out of the lung and lodge in organs around the body. Reproductive health can now be added to expanding list of the adverse effects of fossil fuel-derived particulate matter, and should prompt policymakers to continue to reduce traffic emissions.”

“In the face of a global fertility crisis, a clear picture of the link between environmental factors such as air pollution and fertility health or treatment outcomes could play an important part in tackling falling fertility rates,” said Professor Geeta Nargund, a senior NHS consultant and medical director of abc IVF and Create Fertility.

She also said that “further work would be crucial to better understand the full impact of air pollution, which disproportionately affects those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Rosalind Cruz IV Drips & More

Healing from the Ground Up: A Holistic Approach | Rosalind Cruz, NP-C

In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and processed foods dominate our lifestyles, the search for accessible health solutions has never been more urgent. Holistic medicine embraces the beautiful complexity of the human experience, focusing on the unity of mind, body, and spirit. This comprehensive approach to health emphasizes natural treatments, nutritious eating, sufficient water intake, and mindful living to foster overall wellness. Rosalind Cruz, NP-C, a dedicated healthcare professional with over three decades of experience in nursing, is at the forefront of this movement.


Former CDC Director Believes Next Pandemic Will Be Caused By The Bird Flu

Robert Redfield, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently stated that the next pandemic could be caused by the bird flu. 

Additionally, the World Health Organization recently announced the first human death from bird flu in Mexico, and the virus itself has been found in cattle across dairy farms in the US, according to reports

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“I really do think it’s very likely that we will, at some time, it’s not a question of if, it’s more of a question of when we will have a bird flu pandemic,” Redfield said to NewsNation last week. 

He also discussed that the mortality rate will likely be much higher in a bird flu pandemic versus what the world experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic had a mortality rate that was 0.6%, and Redfield predicts the mortality “for the bird flu would probably be somewhere between 25 and 50%.”

The Hill reported that by late May, the CDC had found the third case of an individual diagnosed with bird flu within three months. Each case was found in a farmworker, but were unrelated to each other. The main symptoms included a cough and pink eye. 

As of right now, there is no direct evidence that suggests the virus is spreading amongst humans right now. 

Health experts and researchers found that in order for the bird flu to be able to connect to a human receptor, five amino acids have to change their key receptors. If that does occur, the virus would spread like Covid-19 did. 

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“Once the virus gains the ability to attach to the human receptor and then go human to human, that’s when you’re going to have the pandemic,” Redfield said

“I think it’s just a matter of time.”

While Redfield stated that it’s hard to predict how long it would take for the amino acids to change, but the fact that it’s been detected in cattle across the US is concerning. 

The CDC reported that more than 40 herds of cattle have been infected with the virus. They’ve been following wastewater treatment sites to track where the virus is originating from, and said that there’s low risk of the virus spreading throughout the public. 

The cattle infected live in the vicinity of pigs, which could allow the virus to evolve from pigs to humans, however, Redfield stated there’s more of a severe risk that the virus will be grown in a lab and spread that way. 

“I know exactly what amino acids I have to change because in 2012, against my recommendation, the scientists that did these experiments actually published them. So, the recipe for how to make bird flu highly infectious for humans is already out there,” he said.


Moderna And Merck Say New Experimental Vaccine Is Improving Survival Rates In Patients With Severe Skin Cancer 

Biopharmaceutical company Merck and mRNA vaccine developer Moderna are currently creating a new vaccine to help improve the quality of life and survival rates in individuals dealing with the most deadly form of skin cancer. The vaccine is showing positive results when combined with the therapy treatment known as Keytruda. 

Moderna and Merck will be presenting the current data they’ve collected over the past three years at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. The newer data showed that around 75% of patients with deadly skin care who took the combination regimen were alive without any signs or symptoms of their cancer returning at the 2.5 year mark. 

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55.6% of patients had the same results when they just received the Keytruda therapy alone. 

“That benefit was observed across different subgroups of patients, regardless of whether they had tumors with a large number of mutations or whether they had enough of a protein — called PD-L1 — that helps keep the body’s immune responses in check,” wrote Annika Constantino for CNBC

“The data reflects the potential for the shot to help treat a broad range of melanoma patients,” Dr. Kyle Holen, Moderna’s head of development, therapeutics and oncology, said.

Patients who took the vaccine with Keytruda showed an overall survival rate that hit 96% after 2.5 years, those who just took Keytruda had a rate of 90.2%. 

“Patients with severe forms of the cancer, known as melanoma, who received the combination were 49% less likely to die or have their cancer return than those who took Keytruda alone after roughly three years. The combination also slashed the risk of melanoma spreading to other parts of the body, or death, by 62%,” Constantino wrote

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Fatigue, injection site pain, and chills were the most common side effects associated with the vaccine, and the majority of those side effects were mild, according to the data

The vaccine uses the same mRNA technology that Moderna utilized for their Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is custom-built utilizing the patient’s tumors after surgical removal. The shot is like many other vaccines in that it works to train the immune system to identify and attack specific mutations within cancer cells. 

“Moderna is excited about working to reduce the time between the initial analysis of a tumor and when a patient gets injected with the shot,” CEO Stephane Bancel said in an interview with CNBC.   

“Moderna also plans to file for accelerated approval with the FDA. The process allows for expedited approvals of drugs for serious conditions that fill an unmet medical need,” Bancel said. 

“Melanoma is responsible for the large majority of skin cancer deaths, and the rate of melanoma has increased rapidly over the past few decades” according to the American Cancer Society.

The organization states “about 100,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S. this year and nearly 8,000 people are expected to die from the disease.”


Scientists Create Vaccine To Potentially Help Protect Us From Future Coronaviruses 

Scientists have now created a vaccine that could potentially protect against a wide range of coronaviruses, including variants that may not even be known yet. 

The shot is currently in its experimental phase and has been tested on mice. This new vaccine shows a change in “proactive vaccinology,” which refers to when vaccines are developed to be ready for manufacturing before potential pandemic outbreaks.

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According to reports from The Guardian, this particular vaccine was developed by attaching harmless proteins from different coronaviruses to minuscule nanoparticles that are injected into the body to prime its defenses to fight the viruses if they were to invade. 

Since this vaccine was developed to train the immune system to target proteins that are shared among many various coronaviruses, the protection it could provide would be vast. 

“We’ve shown that a relatively simple vaccine can still provide a scattershot response across a range of different viruses. It takes us one step forward towards our goal of creating vaccines before a pandemic has even started,”  said Rory Hills, a graduate researcher at the University of Cambridge and first author of the report.

When the vaccines were tested in mice, the vaccine was shown to provide a broad immune response to coronaviruses. The study itself was a collaboration between the universities of Cambridge and Oxford and the California Institute of Technology, and has been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Hills stated that the universal coronavirus vaccine can be produced in existing medical facilities for “microbial fermentation.” He added that the researchers involved in the recent study are working with industrial partners to scale up the production process.  

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The nanoparticles and viral proteins that are used to produce the vaccine can also each be made in separate facilities at different times. However, medical regulators currently don’t have procedures for proactive vaccinology, and those procedures would have to be developed as the vaccine becomes more available. 

The researchers said that if this vaccine proves to be safe and effective in humans, it could potentially be used as a Covid booster, which would not only protect against Covid-19, but other coronaviruses. 

 “In the event that a coronavirus or other pathogen crosses over you could have pre-existing vaccine stocks ready and a clear plan to quickly scale up production if needed,” Hills said.

“Scientists did a great job in quickly producing an extremely effective Covid vaccine during the last pandemic, but the world still had a massive crisis with a huge number of deaths. We need to work out how we can do even better than that in the future, and a powerful component of that is starting to build the vaccines in advance,” said Professor Mark Howarth, a senior author of the study


Military Families In Hawaii Heading To Court Over 2021 Jet Fuel Leak That Tainted Water 

A massive environmental injury case will be going to trial in Hawaii this week. The case itself regards an incident that occurred in 2021, when a US military fuel tank facility, that was located underground, poisoned thousands of people after leaking jet fuel into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water supply. 

According to reports from NPR, a US District Court judge in Honolulu will hear the lawsuit from 17 “bellwether” plaintiffs, who are made up of relatives of military members that represent more than 7,500 others, including service members in three federal lawsuits.  

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According to the court documents, the US government admitted that the spill, which occurred at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on November 20th, 2021, was a nuisance for the plaintiffs, and the US “breached its duty of care,” causing compensable injuries within the plaintiffs. 

The US government, however, disputed the plaintiff’s claims that the residents were exposed to jet fuel at such a high level that they experienced their alleged health effects. The health effects cited range from vomiting to rashes, with some even alleging their pet dogs experienced vomiting and illness. 

The plaintiffs submitted declarations which described how they got sick after the water crisis, leaving them with ongoing health problems such as seizures, asthma, eczema, and vestibular dysfunction, according to NPR

One of the individuals impacted is Nastasia Freeman, the wife of a Navy lieutenant and mother of three. Freeman described how the family initially assumed they had food poisoning from Thanksgiving 

“I had developed a rash on my arms with sores and lesions on my scalp, feet, and hands accompanied by a headache. I had a very strange sensation that I had never had before — I felt like my blood was on fire,” she said

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Nine days after the jet fuel leak, Freeman was told by a nurse that they had received multiple calls relating to tap water. Lawyers for the plaintiffs are arguing that Navy officials knew that the water had been contaminated but didn’t tell the residents not to drink it.

Freeman’s declaration filed in the case said: “It felt like we were being gaslit. We knew the water wasn’t safe, but the Navy was telling us that it was. They said they didn’t know what was in the water and that they were ‘investigating.'”

According to an investigative report performed by the Navy in 2022, a series of mistakes starting in May 2021 is what led to the November leak. In May an operator error caused a pipe to rupture, and caused around 21,000 gallons of fuel to leak. Most of that fuel spilled into a fire suppression line where it remained for six months, and caused it to sag, so when a cart rammed into that suppression line in November, the 21,000 gallons of fuel was released. 

“A bellwether trial helps attorneys to understand the likely success or failure of the cases that are in the pipeline,” explained Loretta Sheehan, a Honolulu-based personal injury attorney not involved in the water litigation.

“The outcome can help determine future damages to be awarded or settlements,” she said.

Black Women In England Experience More Serious Birth Complications, According To New Data Analysis 

Pregnant Black women in England are six times more likely to suffer from preeclampsia and other serious birth complications when compared to their white counterparts, according to data from the National Health Service.


FDA Says Traces Of Bird Flu Found In 1 In 5 Samples Of Pasteurized Milk 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that 1 in 5 samples of retail milk contains traces of the highly contagious bird flu. They also said that these findings may not be an indicator of an infectious risk to consumers, according to reports from The Hill

The FDA has been publishing updates throughout the week, and just recently shared some of the biggest takeaways from their nationally representative commercial milk sampling study. 

“The agency continues to analyze this information; however, the initial results show about 1 in 5 of the retail samples tested are quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-positive for [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] viral fragments, with a greater proportion of positive results coming from milk in areas with infected herds,” the FDA stated. 

The Administration continued to state that additional testing will be required in order to determine whether or not intact pathogens of the bird flu are present in the milk and if those who consume it would be at risk of infection. 

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“To date, the retail milk studies have shown no results that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe. The pasteurization process that retail milk undergoes as well as the diverting and destroying of milk from infected cows,” the agency shared.

They also re-emphasized their long-standing warnings against drinking raw milk. Earlier this year, a worker on a dairy farm in Texas became infected with the bird flu after working closely with cows that were later found to be infected with the highly infectious H5N1 strain of the bird flu. 

According to William Schaffner, professor in the division of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, “pasteurization should kill the virus and people generally shouldn’t be too concerned about buying milk from a grocery store.”

“A bird flu virus can pick up the capacity to spread readily from person to person. This is a rare event, every 15 years or so. There’s no indication that the current bird flu virus has picked this up but it’s out there circulating,” Schaffner told The Hill.

Young Adult’s Work Schedules Could Harm Their Health In The Future, According To New Study

According to a newly released study, an erratic work schedule can cause dire long-term health consequences such as lower physical and mental functions and depressive symptoms by the age of 50.