Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Newborns: How Much Testing Should Parents Do?

posted by Linda Mintle

Today’s new parents have a lot of decisions to make. One of those decisions is how much testing to do on their newborn baby.

Technology has opened a potential Pandora’s box when it comes to testing newborns for conditions and disorders. Just a few drops of blood from a baby’s heel can lead to the discovery of over two dozen different conditions and disorders. And many of those conditions do not yet have treatments.

So the question  is, do parents want to know all the potential problems their child can have even if there is no intervention to pursue?

In the past, the reason for testing was to identify disorders like PKU that could be treated and prevented. Today the screening possibilities are much broader. Conditions and disorders can be discovered that have no treatments.

On the pro side of the screening controversy, the argument is: 1) Early intervention could improve the child’s life if a disorder was discovered 2) When symptoms later appear, parents would know what these are related to and would not waste time trying to find someone who could diagnosis the condition.

One the con side: 1) Early screening may lead to more unnecessary testing and treatment for babies who may not get sick 2) Broad screening adds to health care costs. 3) Blood samples can be stored and used by researchers, possibly violating privacy rights.

From a bio ethical perspective, trying to decide who will benefit from additional screenings and who will not is tricky business.

Right now, different states require different screenings. An advisory board to the Secretary of Health and Human Services has been established to make recommendations regarding which screenings should be done but states are trying to figure it all out.

In the meantime, parents have to decide how much screening should be done and what they want to know when their child is born.

 

What do you think? Love to see your comments.

 

Can That Fast Food Burger Make You Depressed?

posted by Linda Mintle

A recent study in Spain (published in Public Health Nutrition)  found that people who eat fast food are 51% more likely to be depressed than those who don’t consume fast food. The participants of the study had no depression diagnoses when the study began and were assessed for approximately six months. By the end of the study, after being fed a diet of fast food, over half of the people became depressed. And the more fast food consumed, the more likely the person was to become depressed.

Now, before you put down that burger and fries and cry over that chocolate milkshake, take a moment. It’s more complicated.

Those who consume a high amount of fast food increase the chance of depression because this type of eating causes poor health. But people who are depressed also reach for comfort junk food to feel better. So even though those in the study had no history of depression, there is still a relationship between people who feel depressed and their eating habits.

Other factors must also be considered when we are talking about the link between depression and fast food intake. For example, we know that people who are poor tend to eat more fast food, so poverty plays a role. And the subjects in the Spain study were less active, worked more than 40 hours a week and were more likely to be smokers–additional factors that can lead to problems. In other words, it takes more than a few fries and soda to put someone in a depressed state.

So while I advocate better eating for all, that juicy burger isn’t a depression risk if it is not part of your regular consumption. That said, you will improve your health by making healthier food choices, exercising, and putting an end to smoking!

The Difference Between Worry and Concern

posted by Linda Mintle

Be anxious about nothing. Is that really possible. It is if you know the difference between worry and concern.

Concern is normal. Worry is not! Watch this short video to find out the difference:

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7 Spiritual Steps to Overcome Mild Depression

posted by Linda Mintle

Have you struggled with feeling down for a few years, maybe even since childhood? Something just isn’t quite right. You feel irritable, hopeless, lethargic and low in self-esteem. This was true of Robin. He didn’t realize he was depressed and just thought his down feelings were part of his personality. But daily, he struggled to get out of bed and fully engage in life.

Robin suffers from a mild depression called dysthymia. It runs in families and can worsen if not treated. It can linger for years because it is a chronic, low-grade depression. With it may come appetite changes, low energy, sleep difficulties, low self-esteem and feelings of helplessness.

This type of depression is treatable. Antidepressants work for about one third of people with dysthymia. You may have to experiment with medications until you find one that is effective. Talk therapy looks at the roots of depression. Children who have been abused or experienced trauma are at risk. Major life stress can also trigger dysthymia in adults–a recent loss, difficult circumstance, relationship problems, etc. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps train you to redirect your negative thoughts. Exercise and family support are also helpful.

Spiritually, depression often leads to feeling hopeless. With God, nothing is beyond repair and healing.

Here are 7 spiritual steps to help you overcome:

1) Acknowledge the depression (Proverbs 12:25)

2) Trust God to help you (Psalm 46:1)

3) Praise God despite your circumstances (Psalm 34:1)

4) Speak hope into the situation (Psalm 39:7)

5) Renew your negative thoughts through the positive Word of God. Meditate on the goodness of God (Phil 4:8)

6) Take steps to correct your behavior. Take care of your body and engage with others. Don’t wait to feel like doing something, make yourself do things. Get up and active.

7) Address the cause of depression. Get at the root–guilt and shame, loss of a job, family conflicts, unforgiveness, etc.) and work in therapy.

The next time you begin to feel depressed, pray….

“I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus. I am not under the curse. He came to redeem me.  I am the head, not the tail. I am above, not below, no weapon formed against me will prosper. Let the redeemed of the Lord, say so!”

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