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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Autism Risk Linked to Newborn’s Placenta

posted by Linda Mintle

baby feetOne in 50 children are now diagnosed with autism (CDC). Right now, there are no definitive tests to tell whether a child will develop autism, but we know that the earlier we detect autism, the better we can serve a child.

So how about detection at birth?

A new study by Yale researchers and UC Davis’ MIND Institute discovered a tool they can use to detect who is likely at risk when a child is born. The study looked at the abnormalities in the placenta at birth. Specifically, researchers found abnormal folds of placenta in newborn children. Placenta is responsible for feeding nutrients to a baby and removing waste from his or her blood. It is discarded at birth so easy to use for detection.

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Based on the placenta, researchers could identify whether or not that child was the younger sibling of an autistic child, a risk factor that puts a child nine times more at risk for developing the condition. Kliman, the senior author, discovered that the placentas from women whose older children had autism was remarkably different from those who did not. Interestingly, when researchers at UC Davis’ MIND Institute (who have also been studying the causes of autism)  sent 217 placenta samples to Kliman, he was able to correctly identified 90% of them coming from a younger sibling of an autisitc child.

Risk doesn’t mean autism is automatic. The study has to follow these babies who were identified in order to determine which of those children will actually become autistic.

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But finding this marker will allow researchers to identify the genetics that set the stage and the environmental triggers involved. Cheryl Walker, the study’s co-author and assistant professor at University of California, sees obesity, nutrition, weight gain or diabetes in the mother, and exposure to chemicals that disrupt hormones factors as influencers of fetal growth and tissues, like those in the placenta and the brain.

The take away for parents: The test can be done even before delivery and if the marker is found, early intervention, when the brain is more open to change, can be done. Again, the marker only means the child is at risk. Further studies will follow those kids and see which ones show signs of autism.

 

Source: Biological Psychiatry. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health; the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis; Yale University Reproductive and Placental Research Unit; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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A Spiritual Take on Angelina Jolie’s Decision to Fight Cancer Risk

posted by Linda Mintle

So many families have been touched by cancer that just the mention of the word is scary to hear and often feels like a death sentence.  While this is not always the case and many cancers are treatable, the fear is often tied to better known risk factors and more awareness. This week, actress Angelina Jolie brought that reality to the forefront by going public with a personal decision she made.

Jolie is a carrier of the gene defect (BRCA1) that greatly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. According to reports, once the genetic marker was found, Jolie was given an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. With surgery, her risk dropped below 5%. The risk is different for every woman. The AP reported that while Jolie’s risk is high, only 5% to ten percent of all breast cancers are linked to the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes. The gene mutation is rare.

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Jolie, given the odds, had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Her mother died at age 56 from ovarian cancer and Jolie wanted to increase her chances of being alive to raise her children. She felt empowered by the decision and went public to help other women know their options.

Dr. Lyndsay Harris, The Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Case Western Reserve University wants you to know that there are other options for those with a family history of breast cancer—regular screenings every six months with mammograms alternating with MRI, medical therapy to greatly reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, and removing the ovaries to prevent ovarian and breast cancer.

In the end, what may have been right for Jolie, may not be right for other women.

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When my mom was given a cancer diagnosis twice in her life, we naturally felt afraid. But as a Christian family, we took this fear to God. We prayed for healing, we consulted doctors, agreed to certain procedures and said NO to others. We allowed the Holy Spirit to lead us. Both times my mom was healed of cancer. She lived to be almost 85 and did not die from cancer. Others I know, had different outcomes and their faith and petitions to God were no less than ours. Ultimately, God holds our days in His hands.

For the Christian, the decision regarding prevention and treatment needs to be steeped in prayer, not fear-based, but made with solid information and wise counsel from treating physicians. CANCER is a word that challenges our propensity to fear. The words of 2 Timothy 1:7, encourage us not to react in fear, not be empowered in our own strength, but depend on God to lead and guide us. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. If you are facing the risk of cancer, be empowered by our God, who alone is wise.

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Do not be anxious about anything (cancer), but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (decisions). And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7.

People of faith are not alone in decision-making. God listens to our requests and asks us to bring all things to Him in prayer. If you face a tough decision like Angelina did, take it to God in prayer. Be led by His Spirit. Whatever you feel led to to do, rest in His peace.

 

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Would You Do What Angelina Jolie Did?

posted by Linda Mintle

Some would call it a brave move. Others might see it as fear based.

Angelina Jolie revealed that she underwent a double mastectomy to prevent getting breast or ovarian cancer. According to the New York Times, Jolie tested genetically positive for the BRCA1 gene that greatly increases a women’s risk for ovarian and breast cancers. Her mother died at age 56, from ovarian cancer. Jolie wants to be around to raise her children and says she is sharing her story with the public in the hopes of bringing awareness to one way of preventing these types of cancers.

The National Cancer Institute tells us that the gene BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genetic mutations associated with the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. The genes can be determined by a blood test at a hospital or doctor’s office and sent to a lab that specializes in these screenings. The cost of the test ranges from hundreds to several thousand dollars, and may or may not be covered by insurance. For a celebrity, that is not a problem, but for the average woman, cost can be prohibited.

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Dr. Michael Sabel, associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School says, “The dilemma we’re facing is more and more women are choosing to remove both breasts. We’re greatly overestimating the risk of women with breast cancer developing another breast cancer.”

Do you agree?

Would you get tested for the genes if cost wasn’t an issue?

If you tested positive, would you have a double mastectomy like Jolie did?

Let’s get the conversation started.

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3 Tips to Let Go of Worry

posted by Linda Mintle

worryRachel was worried about her finances. Recently divorced, she was barely making payment on all her bills. Her hours at work had been cut, her savings was dwindling and money was tight. She was surviving, but couldn’t stop worrying about the future. All she could think about was, “What if…” It was getting so bad that her friends suggested she see a counselor.

How does Rachel stop worrying when she is so anxious about her future?

1) First, she has to let go of the idea that worry is useful. In talking with Rachel, she believed that worry was a way for her to take control of her life. In other words, Rachel felt like worrying was doing something. It was useful to her in some weird way. But Rachel had to let go of that idea because when we truly believe that worry has no place in our lives, this is the beginning of freedom.

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2) Rachel had to engage her will. In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged the disciples to make up their minds not to worry. This indicates that we must make a choice not to worry, that we have to decide not to allow worry in to the moment. This involves looking at your thoughts and replacing worried thoughts with thoughts of hope and peace. Thoughts of hope and peace are rooted in faith.

3) Faith has to do with trusting God. Worry  is based on doubting God. In order to worry, we have to wonder if God is who He says He is. When trouble comes and we don’t understand, the temptation is to ascribe to God some negative motive like, He doesn’t care, He isn’t with me, or He caused the bad things to happen. Sometimes, we assign attribution to God that is not part of his character. When this happens, we doubt and worry creeps in.

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If we are not familiar with who God is, it is hard to trust Him because we don’t know His character. For most people, this means reading their Bible to get a better understanding of who God is. Bible reading reminds us daily of God’s promises and who He is. Trust is based on knowing God and realizing that His promises are true. To let go of worry, you have to trust. Fill your mind with truth by daily reading Scripture.

 

 

 

For more help to let go of worry, get my book, Letting Go of Worry                           Letting Go of Worry -- Web

 

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