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Posts tagged ‘Disease’

Bill Gates Predicts Almost No Poor Countries Left by 2035.

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, said that by 2035 no nation will be as poor as any of the 35 that the World Bank now classifies as low-income, even adjusting for inflation.

Most countries will have higher per-person income by 2035 than China does now, Gates said in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter published today. He argued against what he called “three myths” that block progress for the poor: poor countries are doomed to stay poor; foreign aid is a big waste; and saving lives leads to over-population.

“The facts are on the side of the optimists,” Gates, 58, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview today with Betty Liu. “It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous.”

The Gates Foundation has distributed $28.3 billion in grants since 1997 to fund projects in global health and development and education programs in the U.S., according to the organization’s website.

Almost all countries will be what are now called lower- middle income or richer by 2035, Gates said in the letter. They will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations such as new vaccines, better seeds and the digital revolution, he said.

Poverty, Disease

“The belief that the world is getting worse, that we can’t solve extreme poverty and disease, isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful,” Gates wrote. “By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. In two decades it will be better still.”

A few countries will be held back by war and politics, Gates said, citing North Korea, or geography, such as landlocked nations in central Africa. Still, he predicts that more than 70 percent of countries will have a higher per-person income than China now, and almost 90 percent of nations will be above today’s India.

Health aid is a “phenomenal investment,” Gates, the co- founder of Microsoft Corp., said in the letter. Helped by foreign aid, the number of polio-endemic countries was reduced to 3 from 125 since 1988. With the right investments and changes in policies, by 2035, every country will have child-mortality rates that are as low as the rates in the U.S. or the U.K. in 1980, Gates said, citing research by the foundation and economists published in the Lancet last month.

When children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families, Melinda Gates wrote in the letter. And the pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birth rates applies for the vast majority of the world, she said.

“Headlines in a way are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not,” Bill Gates said in the interview. “We almost have to take a letter like this and speak out and say, ‘Wait a minute, despite how bad we feel about what’s not yet done, we have some approaches that work.’ And the cynicism is holding us back.”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Forgotten Disease: Finding an Alzheimer’s Cure.

Woman Being Comforted
Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are things you can do to help prevent getting it. (© JenniferPhotographyImaging

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Today an American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. Its victims are often younger than you might think.

For instance, at the young age of 53, Paul Terkeltaub learned he had Alzheimer’s. Now he’s beginning his long good-bye.

“Because that’s what this is like,” he said, holding back tears. “Is, just having to deal with this, where you see yourself slipping every day. And that’s the hardest thing to deal with.”

Forgetting: ‘Absolutely Terrorizing’
He sees Alzheimer’s as much more than just losing your keys or missing an exit. It’s visiting someone’s home for the hundredth time and not recognizing a thing.

“And it may only take you five seconds to get back on track to figure out where you are and begin to straighten things out in your mind,” Paul said, speaking from experience. “But that five seconds is absolutely terrorizing.”

Paul retired early to enjoy his remaining years with wife Marcy, his high school sweetheart.

“I’ve always been the one to take care of her,” Paul said. “And it’s going to be tough to face the fact that I won’t be able to do that at some point in time.”

Marcy said she and Paul are facing life with as much courage as they can muster.

“We’re just living our lives day by day and I kind of don’t think about the future,” she said.

A Disease with No Survivors
Paul and Marcy hope a cure will be discovered before it’s too late for them. But they’re discouraged because so little is spent on Alzheimer’s research: only $500 million a year.

Compare that to $6 billion for cancer research, $4 billion for heart disease research, and $3 billion for AIDS research.

Dr. Dave Morgan, who heads up a leading Alzheimer’s research facility, called the reason Congress allows so little for Alzheimer’s flat-out age discrimination.

“They say, ‘Oh, that’s old-timers disease. Who really cares about these old folks?'” he said.

Plus, celebrities with other diseases bring attention and support for what they’re going through.

You don’t really see that with Alzheimer’s.

“The problem is, we have cancer survivors who are going out and talking to people, and they’re telling people how the research is so important to them,” Morgan said. “In Alzheimer’s, we don’t have survivors.”

A Drain for Medicare?
Even though Alzheimer’s hits its victims and their caregivers the hardest, the cost hits us all, and it’s going to get worse.

This year more than $200 billion will be spent treating our 5 million Alzheimer’s patients. And as Americans age, the number of Alzheimer’s patients is expected to hit 16 million by 2050, along with $1 trillion a year in medical costs.

“We need to spend more money at the federal and the state level on Alzheimer’s research,” Morgan said. “That’s the only way we’re ever going to avoid having this disease completely decimate Medicare. I mean it won’t even survive until 2030.”

Hope Through Diet
Although there’s no cure or effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, scientists say our everyday lifestyle choices can make a big difference.

Studies show diets high in sugar raise your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Also, seniors who ate lots of trans fats had smaller brains, one of the hallmarks of the disease, according to Dr. Gene Bowman, the lead investigator of a study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University.

“We know that in Alzheimer’s disease that the brain shrinks at an accelerated pace as the disease and pathology spreads to certain parts of the brain,” he explained.

“But if you have a larger brain and more brain tissue you might have a reserve to handle that pathology better,” he added.

That same study found that seniors with the largest brains ate diets high in vitamins B, C, D, E and Omega-3 fats.

Coconut oil may also help prevent Alzheimer’s. It reportedly reversed the symptoms in hundreds of patients, to the degree that the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is now conducting the first-ever study on the effects of coconut oil on Alzheimer’s patients.

“At least up until this time all we can say is there’s anecdotal information that it may be beneficial,” Morgan said. “There hasn’t been any kind of research study that’s been done and so we really can’t know for certain.”

Finding Real Hope
So while nourishing your brain may help, challenging it can, too.

For instance, people who speak more than one language have lower rates of Alzheimer’s. Doctors also recommend doing crossword puzzles and other brain-teasing games.

They also advise staying mentally engaged in life, like working.

In fact, a recent study found that those who delay retirement decrease their risk by four percent each year they stay on the job.

Physical exercise helps, too. Mounting evidence suggests that raising your heart rate for at least 30 minutes several times a week can make a huge difference.

Even with all this knowledge, the real hope for beating Alzheimer’s is to find a cure or effective treatment.



When Disease Strikes.

Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.
John 11:3

Recommended Reading
John 11:1-5 ( )

A disease is a condition causing pain, dysfunction, distress, or death to the one afflicted. Most diseases affect the personality in some way, and they can also drain us financially. Some are exotically rare and have names like Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; others are as common as arthritis.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

Perhaps you’re alarmed at twinges in your chest, aches in your bones, a persistent cough, or a speck of blood where it shouldn’t be. Or maybe you’re past those initial symptoms. You’ve been diagnosed. You are battling disease right now. The Lord may or may not heal us of all our diseases on earth, but ultimate healing and eternal health is included in what Jesus did for us on the cross. He suffered excruciating pain to give us resurrection bodies free from illness, aging, or debilitating disease. Matthew 8:17 says, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Isaiah 53:5 says, “By His stripes we are healed.”

Illness makes us all uncomfortable, but it can turn our thoughts to Him who loves us even when we’re sick.

We often need physical therapy, but God is the great spiritual Therapist who can keep us strong of heart even when we’re weak of body.
David Jeremiah

Luke 1-2

By David Jeremiah.

Transgender Movement Planting Roots in Kenya.

Alexander Nthugi and Audrey Mbugua
Alexander Nthugi and Audrey Mbugua, both living with gender identity disorders, stand outside the Kenyan High Court. Mbugua, born as Andrew Mbugua, has sued the government to be recognized as a woman. (Fredrick Nzwili/RNS)

A transgender person who has sued the government to be recognized as a woman is fighting a group ofChristian lawyers who are opposed to her name change petition.

The Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship is challenging Audrey Mbugua’s petition, warning it would set a precedent contrary to the Christian view of creation and encourage gay unions.

But the 29-year-old biomedical scientist says her case is not about sexual orientation, but a medical condition.

“I am concerned they will create more confusion with these kind of arguments,” Mbugua said. “This is a respectful and vigorous discussion about a rare condition.”

Mbugua, who said she is an atheist, grew up as Andrew while struggling with her gender.

She went to court in May seeking a name change, identity documents and reissued academic certificates with her new name. She has found it difficult to find work since employers assume she is a man and then find out she is a woman.

But the Christian lawyers’ group has argued that there is no third gender in Kenya’s constitution apart from male and female, and a simple name change cannot alter one’s gender.

“The applicant alleges to have planned corrective medical surgery, yet there is no proof that he was subjected to any,” wrote the group’s lead lawyer, Harrison Kinyanjui, in a submission to the Nairobi law courts.

The group recommends psychological treatment for Audrey’s case.


Can Evaluation Really Contribute to Church Health?.

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

It’s common knowledge that men are far less likely to go to the doctor than women. While that may not be very shocking, one of the justifications for their reluctance to schedule a check-up is intriguing. Many men don’t go to the doctor because they don’t want to find out something is wrong.

This idea of “what I don’t know can’t hurt me” is part of the reason women’s life expectancy has long outpaced men. The average U.S. woman lives to be 81.3, while a man’s average life span is 76.2 years.

Churches that value and welcome assessments can expect health and growth.

One of the most fascinating pieces of information from that study, however, is that men are closing the gap. From 1989 to 2009, the gulf shrank from seven years to just over five. The reason? Males were living healthier lifestyles and had become more vigilant with cardiovascular concerns. Instead of ignoring problems, they began to actively and intentionally evaluate and assess their physical health, which resulted in a 4.6 year predicted lifespan growth.

This perfectly illustrates the need for a culture of assessment in churches, since the Bible refers to the church as the body of Christ. That’s not a metaphor but a description. Paul doesn’t say the church is like a body, but the church is a body. Just like with our bodies, it is important that we evaluate and assess the overall health of the church. Undiscovered problems under the surface can be deadly.

Some may point out that you can’t measure everything. That is obviously true. You can’t really measure enthusiasm. Clearly, you can’t analytically measure the supernatural and providential move of God. You can, however, measure effects.

When we studied transformational churches, we found commonalities between them that stretched across cultural and ecclesiological differences. For example, some had more than 80 percent of their people in small groups and more than 70 percent ministering to one another in, through and beyond church. These were churches that were seeing conversions and were filled with vibrancy and life.

Often times when the assessment culture has been developed and implemented, it will confirm the thoughts of your involved members.

Knowing what has actually led to making disciples can help you and your church know what steps you need to take to improve your health, which some in your church may already know. Oftentimes when the assessment culture has been developed and implemented, it will confirm the thoughts of your involved members.

Right before I turned 40, I sent out an evaluation form to 15 people with whom I had a work relationship. I wanted them to evaluate my ministry, my leadership, and let me know what they saw as my strengths and weaknesses. I made it anonymous so they could be completely honest. Two things came back consistently (and, to me, surprisingly). They said I was too sarcastic and I didn’t listen well. When I asked my wife about those areas, she looked at me puzzled and expressed surprise that I wasn’t aware of those issues. She knew me best and knew those were areas where I could improve.

That allowed me to open a conversation about how I could work on those. The same is true for your church. We want you to have the knowledge about potential health problems that can encourage the extension of your church’s lifespan. This is not always easy to face or use as a means for improvement. Growing from an assessment requires a certain level of awareness, transparency and courage. Unfortunately, churches and denominations often have a current of denial propping up ineffective traditions and ecclesiological structures.

Several years ago, I did consulting work for a national retailer. They set up a phone survey to determine from employees how they felt about their job, co-workers and supervisors. When all of this data was compiled, we saw issues that were recurring at the bottom 10 percent of stores. I helped to train a team that would go to those locations and work to correct the problems.

Secular businesses put significant effort into evaluating their effectiveness, while churches frequently do nothing. I happen to think that the work of the church is much more important than any retail store. Having happier employees and increasing sales is beneficial to those businesses, but making disciples is of eternal consequence to the kingdom.

Like American men have done more in the past few years, churches need to start taking their health more seriously. You can only expect what you inspect. Churches that value and welcome assessments can expect health and growth. The facts you discover may not be friendly, but they will enable your church to become better at making disciples.

To accomplish this we need to do things right. In the next post, I’ll outline some wrong ways to implement an assessment culture. It all comes down to the measuring sticks we choose.

Written by Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer is the president of LifeWay Research.

How Do You Deal With Mental Illness in Church Members?.


Stock Free Images

You know the feeling—you see her coming and you want to turn away.

Mary is in your church. Something isn’t quite right with her. Sometimes she seems balanced, lucid and smart. Other times she is really off. She might have strong mood swings, flow in and out of psychotic episodes, or she could have one of dozens of mental illnesses.

The bottom line is that you (and most everyone else) feel uncomfortable around her, and with that discomfort comes frustration and sometimes guilt.

How can you help Mary and still maintain your equilibrium?

There is no easy answer for the mentally ill and/or mood disorder sufferers in our congregations. Your “Mary” might be a “Fred,” but the rest of the story is pretty much the same.

We pray for them and their families, but sometimes God doesn’t heal. So we have to learn a different kind of relationship—one that keeps us from falling down the proverbial rabbit hole but still helps them move forward in their relationship with Christ.

Here are some things to consider.

1. Know yourself. Jesus walked with love and grace in even the most difficult situations because He didn’t gain his identity from his relationships. Spend time with God in total honesty. Don’t tell Him how to fix things; just bring your personal brokenness before Him and wait to see what He does with it. Those deep times with God will give you an equilibrium and grace in some of the most stressful situations.

2. Establish good protocols. Sometimes the most loving response doesn’t make everyone feel good. Yet it is necessary to love people by having good boundaries yourself. Here is an interesting conundrum: The time to set boundaries usually isn’t in the middle of a crisis, yet we often don’t discover that we need boundaries until we have been pushed too far. Keep people around you who will walk with boldness and wisdom and help you discern whether you look for the most loving response or the response that will make people feel good.

3. Learn about mental illness and mood disorders. It really does help to have a bit of knowledge. Prior to the understanding of bacteria, many illnesses were mysteries. Now we are able to fix them with cleanliness and antibiotics. A pastor who understands mental illness and mood disorders can create an authentic community where people receive help and love instead of being shunned. Some mood disorders can be helped by healthy living. When you learn how much our diet, exercise, water intake, sleep and mental habits affect our minds, you will want to lead the charge to healthy living.

4. Develop good resources. It is tempting to take on the burden of those in our congregation. Yet those with mental disorders need professionals to walk with them closely. Understand your role as a pastor in the situation, and walk with a team of professionals. Many mood disorders and mental illnesses surprise us. Keep an active list of great mental health professionals in your area to help your congregants access the help they need.

5. Maintain hope. Jesus healed people who were mentally ill, yet when He returned to heaven, there were still plenty who hadn’t been healed. Thinking through the whole Bible, many of the people God used had some serious mood disorders. God has a view we don’t have, and He loves each of these individuals more than you can imagine. Offer opportunities for people to regularly connect personally with God. Altar times don’t seem vogue, but when you offer time during worship for people to be prayed for, you help them engage God with their whole body. Sometimes this is what they need to refocus on health—and sometimes God uses these situations to make a transformational change.

Mary will likely come to your church one of these days. She might have wild ideas, or she might be emotionally needy. The only thing I know for sure is that she will need Jesus. Please take the time to let God love her through you.


Written by Kim Martinez

Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at She writes a weekly column for

The Obesity Industrial Complex of North America By Dr. Benjamin U. Nwosu.

By Dr. Benjamin U. Nwosu

The relentless obesity epidemic in North American has turned into a cash cow for fast-thinking obesity ‘experts’ scattered all over the continent. These ‘experts’, make Eisenhower’s military industrial complex look like a walk in the park. Most of these weight loss messiahs are either physicians, or paramedical professionals who run around North America with their bullhorns touting their discovery of the Holy Grail of obesity cures. Their work is made much easier as the stigma attached to obesity forces most obese people to cling to the promises of these ‘experts’ like a traveler clutches his water bottle on a trek across the Sahara Desert.

Dr. Atkins ruled the airwaves from the seventies through the nineties, until it was discovered at his death, that his biophysical profile and health records did not match all the highfalutin promises of obesity cure and cardiovascular health that he dished out to his teeming followers, who spent their hard-earned dollars and savings snatching up his books and products from store shelves across the country. His sky-high influence hit rock bottom after that discovery.

Then Dr. Phil, a tough-talking psychologist, one of Oprah Winfrey’s protégé who had no training whatsoever in obesity research suddenly became the obesity ‘expert’ of North America. This psychologist, oblivious of research findings on the genetic and environmental underpinnings of obesity, loudly claimed that obesity was due to poor exercise of willpower.

He dished out advice, wrote cookbooks, promised obese people instant cures for their weight problem. And the crowd trooped after him like the unsuspecting children followed the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Then one day, it hit the somnolent public that this man wasn’t as skinny as a Kenyan marathoner. In fact, as they took a closer look at him they noticed that the more he peddled his obesity cures, the wider his gait got. And their jaws dropped.

Suddenly, the infuriated public turned on him and rained lawsuits on him like the arrows of a medieval army. Almost overnight, he stopped writing books on obesity cures, ended his obesity lecture circuits, and went back to hosting shows on dysfunctional relationships and marriages.

North America heaved a sigh of relief, but not for long.

Now, another of Oprah Winfrey’s protégé has taken over the airwaves and is dishing out advice on obesity remedies and how to attain the shape of runway models with his prescriptions.

Dr. Oz discusses products on his shows, but he says that he does not endorse products. However, as soon as he mentions a particular weight-loss item on air, the gullible public breaks out in a stampede and empties all the grocery shelves across North America of these products.

He claims that he does not want to endorse products because of conflict of interest. But, is that true? For as soon as he is done discussing one of these products, the manufacturers cut out the appropriate segments and start spamming the entire nation with infomercials claiming that America’s top doctor has endorsed their products. Then the vicious cycle sets in, for these companies and/or their affiliates now find a reason to sponsor and promote Dr. Oz’s shows and businesses, while he continues to recommend, but not endorse, more and more products on air.  And thus, the obesity industrial complex grows from strength to strength.

But is the public missing something? How can a top doctor vouch for the efficacy of a product and not endorse it? Why would a ‘top obesity expert’ not publish his research findings in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and present his ‘groundbreaking research’ on obesity at scientific meetings? Is it really true that his reason for not endorsing these therapies and products is because of conflict of interest? I don’t think so.

Here’s the truth: none of these products will work consistently in the long term. Users can gain some short-term placebo effect from these products, but that effect will not last. This is why he is afraid to endorse these products. He knows in his heart that these products will fail and the irate public will wake up one morning and drown him in lawsuits just like they did to his co-traveler, Dr. Phil. So he is playing it safe, but still making money for himself and his sponsors and in the process keeping the obesity industrial complex going.

Every scientific researcher working in the obesity field knows that adiposity is a complex problem. Without going into the complex regulatory systems that control body weight and the role of fat cells in human metabolic pathways, I can tell you that no researcher has all the answers to the obesity puzzle.  The only difference is that these intelligent researchers are busy studying the problem of obesity in laboratories around the country, and discussing their research at scientific meetings, while the weight-loss messiahs of North America are running around the continent peddling their obesity-curing snake oil.

Dr. Benjamin U. Nwosu is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. His works are available at:

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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