Category: Health

Hope for the Future of Healthcare In America | Gathering Ideas

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | May 27, 2019) –  The House Congressional Budget Office attempted to shed light on the pressing healthcare issues Wednesday May 22, 2019, during a robust exchange of bipartisan ideas shared at its hearing on a potential single payer healthcare system for America.

Fielding questions from the House CBO Committee members was a panel of experts:

  • Mark Hadley, Deputy Director, Congressional Budget Office
  • Dr. Jessica Banthin, Deputy Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis, Congressional Budget Office
  • Dr. Jeffrey Kling, Associate Director for Economic Analysis, Congressional Budget Office

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After several rounds of questions and answers between House Representatives and the panel of witnesses, it seemed clear that there is bipartisan support for unravelling the healthcare tangled knots of challenges and finding solutions for each one. Doing so will enable a bipartisan push towards creating a strong healthcare system for all Americans. The following are several key areas that need to be addressed in order to reach a bipartisan agreement:

  • Finding a way for Americans with strong private healthcare plans, provided by their employer, to keep these plans if they so choose. Typically, these healthcare plans are associated with America’s largest companies.
    • The vast majority of large companies are located in specific regions of the country, as well as in certain cities. For example, silicon valley employs nearly 1 million people. They likely all have exceptional healthcare and won’t want to change it, nor should they have to.
    • However, just a few hundred miles away it may be that the majority of employers are small mom & pops who struggle to provide adequate healthcare for themselves as well as the few employees they may have, and are eagerly awaiting a government healthcare plan.
    • A substantial percent of the employed work as contractors and are simultaneously reliant of alternative solutions.

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  • IT infrastructure. A looming obstacle for establishing one giant healthcare plan for America, is crafting the IT plan for securing all medical records and making them accessible anywhere. An example cited was the modernization of securing the VA health records.
    • The IRS seems to have this down and may be a potential roadmap for healthcare.
    • Our election systems are another possible pathway that can be duplicated for health records. However, we’ve recently learned that this intricate system can be successfully hacked.
    • The GOP House Representative who raised the IT roadblock, seemed to be implying that this was the reason why we would never be able to implement a massive national healthcare program. But again, we have several expansive systems already in place that can be be potentially duplicated and modified for healthcare. Breaking down the large national map into smaller state components, divided into districts just like our voting districts, seems like an effective starting point on the IT front.

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  • Competition. Our American system of free markets has proven that competition results in innovation, strengthens ingenuity and resourcefulness, and drives down prices. It was apparent at the hearing, that a bipartisan majority believe that competition will improve the quality and price of healthcare in America.
  • Toxic and contaminated zones that impact health. Certain parts of the country are more toxic than others. Industries such as coal and oil, farming communities with toxic fertilizers, military bases, superfund sites, polluted city air all impact health and create a large pool of Americans who are often born with pre-existing conditions as well as impacted with health conditions at a young age. It’s self-evident that these Americans have been impacted health wise through no fault of their own and should be covered by some type of medical plan that can aid with managing their care –  ie, healthcare support similar to what was provided to those who worked at Ground Zero following 9/11.

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  • The real cost of healthcare. The real cost of healthcare is mystifying, but thanks to technology, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. What we know instinctively as individuals by going through bills with a fine-tooth comb, is that there’s a huge markup and that none of us would pay that price if we had to cover everything on our own. But since the insurance company writes the check for a significant portion, we often let it go, even if when frustrated. However, a certain percent of Americans end up filing for bankruptcy when the monster medical bills begin to roll in.
  • Miscellaneous. Establishing creative solutions for those who believe in natural and holistic methods for staying healthy, and are willing to cover the cost of their own vitamins and wellness regemines, and only need healthcare for a catastrophic event. There are currently no alternatives for this slice of the public if they’re over the age of 30. And yet, there’s an increasing number each year who fall into this particular niche. An effective healthcare plan should find ways to grow this niche.

If we’re willing to find common ground in these specific areas, and are open to comprise, then we should be able to find a path that will lead to bipartisan support for a healthcare overhaul sooner rather than later.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.2Pillars&Gold-mini

Overdose Quick Response Team | Saving Lives During Opioid Crisis

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | May 15, 2019) –  Huntington, West Virginia Mayor Steve Williams spoke with Axios Co-Founder Mike Allen this morning in a conversation with several other concerned leaders – Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Dr. Vanila Singh Chief Medical Officer US Dept HHS – to discuss a pathway for overcoming the pain crisis in America. More than 50 million Americans are battling chronic daily pain.

Mayor Steve Williams is on the front line of the opioid crisis, speaking candidly about his growth in understanding about the size and scope of this devastating disease, stressing that it is indeed a disease rather than a crime. “We can’t arrest our way out of this.”

Williams walked the audience through his journey of understanding. Initially, his strategy had been to tackle the crisis through law enforcement, with a hard on crime approach. “River to jail.” Anyone crossing the Ohio River to sell drugs in Huntington, WV, was going straight to jail. But arresting 200 in 9 days, didn’t change the results. Drug sellers kept coming. Williams was forced to reassess the root cause of the opioid crisis. Addiction is a disease, he eventually determined. Williams explained that Americans have done a superior job at addressing cancer head on by establishing cancer institutes, and dementia by founding Alzheimer institutes, but there are no addiction institutes.

“The epidemic of addiction is the greatest existential threat facing our nation.” ~ Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, WV

When asked about solutions for getting overdose survivors into treatment, Williams outlined Huntington’s Quick Response Team, a group of four wearing plain clothes, who immediately move into action within 24-72 hours, to help survivors following an overdose.

The Quick Response Team consists of:

  •  Paramedic
  • Law Enforcement Professional
  • Recovery Coach
  • Pastor

QRT’s mission is to:

  • Better their community
  • Instill hope for people struggling with substance abuse
  • Offer Treatment
  • Show vulnerable citizens that their city cares about them

Overdose deaths In Huntington, WV have dropped by 50% since the QRT program was established. Mayor Williams’ ability to define the problem, so that he can solve it, appears to be paying off. His central message at the start of this campaign was,”Everybody, EVERYBODY, had to take ownership.” Medical system. Churches. Schools. ETC.

“If you can name it, then you can own it.” ~Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, WV

Getting the whole Huntington community to own the crisis resulted in a turning of the tides that changed the outcome, saved lives, and revitalized the community. Excellent small scale example that can be applied in every town and city in America.

Thank you, Mayor Williams!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.2Pillars&Gold-mini

Music’s Effect On Body Chemistry

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | April 27, 2019) –  The science of music is spellbinding. Whether we realize it or not, so much in our lives is influenced by music. The impact is usually subliminal. However, once we’re tuned in, it becomes fairly easy to identify our body chemistry responses. And once we know how our neurotransmitters will react to certain songs or music, we can be strategic. We can play specific songs at precise moments to elicit the neurotransmitter responses we need.

For example, every year on September 11, I play “Can’t Cry Hard Enough” by the Williams Brothers (1992) all day long. Over and over and over again, to make sure I never forget. And just like the song promises, I literally can’t cry hard enough. I can’t fathom that there are very many who wouldn’t cry, or feel emotionally distraught, by this heart wrenching work. Male or female. Young or old. Every ethnicity. The words and video images of Bethesda Terrace are also impactful. But it seems that it’s the music – the instruments, the melody, and the harmony – that triggers our body’s chemical reaction. Eyes dripping with tears seems as guaranteed as when peeling an onion.

The songs we choose when we exercise can make a dramatic difference. I have a running soundtrack of top rock favorites that I’ve used for years. The songs are upbeat and fast-paced. They seem ideal. While listening to these, I can run two miles every day. Two miles isn’t very far, I realize this. But running is better exercise than walking, so it seems that my exercise routine is sufficient even though I dream of running a 5K.

I recently had the good fortune of attending a Billy Joel concert in Madison Garden. It was sensational. I left feeling very inspired. A few days later, I went running and decided to listen to “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Without even realizing it, I ran an extra mile. All I did was keep replaying “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” I never grew tired. Easy. Within three days of maintaining this new song choice, I reached four miles. How is this possible? Especially considering that running four miles to “Scenes from a Italian Restaurant” is easier for me and more enjoyable than running two miles to my original soundtrack. So it’s clear there has to be some sort of science going on for this improbability to occur.

There are many other examples that point to a science phenomenon taking place when we’re listening to music. Retailers have fine-tuned their soundtracks to exploit this. Wegman’s focus is on 80’s top hits, honing in on who’s carrying the wallet. I could shop in Kohl’s for hours because of their exceptional music choices. Interestingly, Barnes & Noble doesn’t have influential listening music that motivates customers to buy, but rather calming, restive instrumentals, making it easy to hang out and read. The objective is clearly to sell B&N coffee. It works.

These tangible anecdotes seem to prove that music does indeed trigger neurotransmitter responses. Test it out and see for yourself. I imagine the chemical reaction can be both positive and negative. I much prefer positive neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline – but apparently some prefer dark and twisted songs that can possibly trigger aggression through body chemicals such as acetylcholine.

The song that literally saved my life when I was under extreme stress and traumatic fear for twelve straight months, believing every single night that I wouldn’t be alive when the sun rose, was “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind & Fire. I played this song every minute of every waking hour (slight hyperbole, but not too far off the mark actually). The song kept me incredibly calm, focused and aware. Over and over and over again, maintaining a trance-like response to a sustained daily threat. It seems as if “fantasy” released the much needed GABA neurotransmitter.

After experiencing these connections, it was interesting to read tonight after Google searching, an amazing article in the The Guardian that confirms the link between music and body chemistry, The science of songs: how does music affect your body chemistry?

“Research has revealed that music holds the keys to your body’s pharmacy, and can promote or suppress the release of these chemicals.” ~John Powell, physicist and author

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.2Pillars&Gold-mini

Power of Majority | Fighting the Opioid Crisis by Rejecting Sackler Family Name

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report |Perspective | March 21, 2019) –  Money may buy family influence, but the Sackler family will lose all of it’s power when it’s up against an army of millions angered at the wrongful death of nearly 700,000 Americans as a direct result of the Sackler’s aggressive marketing campaign of OxyContin to America’s primary care physicians, along with the intentional misrepresentation of the potential risk of addiction. In Massachusetts last month, the recent public release of the unredacted court documents in a lawsuit brought against eight members of the Sackler family, along with nine employees at Purdue Pharma, has finally shed some much needed light on the Sackler’s willful indifference towards the millions who suffer daily from chronic pain, resulting in a nationwide tragedy, shattering hundreds of thousands of American families.

 Purdue Pharma began manufacturing Oxycontin in the United States in 1996. Initially, it was prescribed to cancer patients, as well as patients who had surgery, and those suffering from chronic back pain. The specialists managing the care of these particular patients were very aware of the potential addiction of OxyContin and kept prescriptions in line with FDA recommendations. In the early 2000’s however, Richard Sackler identified a lucrative path to staggering profitability by aggressively marketing OxyContin to primary care physicians as a solution for any type of pain. The sky was suddenly the limit.

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The Sackler family fortunes totaling over $12 billion, have mushroomed in direct relation to Richard Sackler’s unconscionable marketing campaign that veered dramatically from FDA recommendations. Richard Sackler intentionally honed in on primary care physicians who wouldn’t question Purdue Pharma’s prescription recommendations, both the dose and the frequency. These doctors who weren’t specialists, trusted the enhanced recommendations of the Purdue Pharma reps, who were paid lucrative bonuses when their doctors hit targeted prescription milestones. The doctors were wooed to symposiums at posh resorts. All the typical marketing schemes used to sell upscale consumer products.

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However, OxyContin most assuredly isn’t the same thing as a NordicTrack, and shouldn’t be marketed as such. There’s now a growing movement, in light of this greed motivated annihilation of nearly 700,000, that pharmaceutical profits should be capped, or even prohibited.

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The Sackler’s close ties to the arts, with exquisite galleries heralding the Sackler name, each exuding such inspirational, positive vibes, now seem more like an elaborate mask of deception, covering up a malevolent heart.

The Sackler ties to the most prestigious museums in New York City, London and Beijing may have begun long before OxyContin his pharmacy stockrooms, but this artistic veneer, is in conflict with the hundreds of thousands of deaths that lie beneath the surface of this deceptive wash.

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These fabulous aesthetic pillars in our top cities are relying on the public to support their existence. But how can we possibly visit if the Sackler works, now ornamental symbols of evil and greed, grace these beautiful museum walls. Today, the Tate in London announced it will no longer be accepting any Sackler family donations. the National Portrait Gallery of London banned Sackler money earlier in the week.

The following is the list of Sackler Galleries that should be closed down and replaced:

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We cannot bring back the dead, unfortunately. But we can certainly honor the dead by demanding that the world’s top museums, remove the Sackler Galleries immediately.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Think Green When Making Weekend & Vacation Plans

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | March 17, 2019) – GREEN should forever be at the forefront of our minds whenever we make weekend plans as well as vacation plans.

Climate Action, is nothing more than a resolution. A proposal. An urgent call of action to help address the most challenging crisis facing America and every nation around the world. Climate change impacts all of us. The traumatic reality brings our diverse global population together through a shared purpose.

With the arrival of spring, we can move into the GREEN fast lane and start planting trees. As many trees as space allows. Pakistan has planted over a billion trees. The most important step for us to remember here in America is that steady consistency is the best path forward. Let’s be inclusive. Let’s create a vision for solving this crisis that the vast majority will identify with and participate in. No closed doors. No closed minds.

Here’s a quick lesson on how to properly plant a tree:

Have fun! Make it a family or friend event. It’s wonderful to know that around the world, communities are gathering to plant trees. Not only will this reduce carbon, it will provide cleaner oxygen and a more beautiful environment that will add cheer to our lives. Health and beauty are worth fighting hard for.

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© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Happiness Recipe | Health

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | March 11, 2019) –  Is happiness actually simple? Is it at least more simple than we may realize? As it turns out, an essential part of the happiness feeling, the good mood we all want to possess when we start our day, has a lot to do with what we eat for breakfast, as well as how much sunlight, or bright light we get every 24 hours. Aerobic exercise makes a big difference, too.

Happiness really isn’t very complicated.

There are more than 100 neurotransmitters in our brain, with four major ones that work together to stimulate or inhibit our moods. Our mission therefore should be to safely elevate the positive, happy, cheerful good mood neurotransmitters through a simple, easy routine. Equally important, is releasing the calming neurotransmitters when we’re stressed or worried. Our mood affects our perceptions. The glass half full and the glass half empty is the exact same glass.

We’re much happier when we can find the positive side of any negative situation – making lemonade out of lemons.

What are these four major important neurotransmitters that regulate our mood?

  • Dopamine – “motivation molecule” that makes us more “productive”
  • Norepinephrine – fight or flight stress response
  • Serotonin – happiness booster
  • GABA – regulates anxiety

There are a few easy and delicious food items that quickly release dopamine, and are wonderful at breakfast. Starting the day on the bright side, seems to kick-off a cheerful chain reaction:

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 6 little squares of dark chocolate (Cadbury is a personal favorite); milk chocolate is NOT the same and will not have same effect
  • Large tablespoon of 100% dark cacao powder mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of organic cane sugar and 1/3 cup boiling water
  • It’s best to stay away from sugar the rest of the day, except for fruits like bananas and tangerines, etc

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Absorbing sunlight (or bright light) through our eyes increases serotonin levels. In order for this to be effective, we have to safely take off our sunglasses so we can fully absorb the sunshine. Finding sporadic moments during the day is well worth the hunt. The office patio for a coffee break. A walk outdoors during lunch can also be a great pick-me-up. When the days get longer in May, June and July, there’s still sunlight in the late afternoon and early evening. When we find good reasons to be outside in the evening, we often feel that much more carefree when the sun goes down.

Aerobic exercise, particularly walking and/or running, is another simple trick that boosts serotonin. Exercise is also a great way to ensure a good nights sleep. Sleep deprivation reeks havoc on our neurotransmitters. Again, keeping our body’ chemistry in balance begins with the melatonin neurotransmitter lulling us into deep sleep. Easiest way to make sure to reach deep sleep is by wearing eye shields to bed. Complete darkness is everything.

One day at a time. Building excellent daily health and happiness habits serves us well throughout our lives. The key is to master these essentials — sunflowers seeds & dark chocolate, sunlight and exercise — so that they become as routine as brushing our teeth.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Pain Management | Begins With Strong Immune System

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | February 21, 2019) –  The opioid crisis in America, has reached a fevered pitch following 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017. There’s now strong bipartisan zeal to dissect the components and qualities of pain, so that our congressional leaders will have a better understanding of how to find alternatives to opioids in fighting pain.

“I think we need public education about pain, and the fact that pain is a disease itself.” ~ Ms. Cindy Steinberg, AHIP statement for Senate Hearing on “Managing Pain During the Opioid Crisis”

 

Pain is the leading reason for patients seeking medical care and is one of the most disabling, burdensome, and costly conditions.” ~National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), U.S. National Library of Medicine

First, there are different pain levels. The Numeric Rating Scale was created for people 10 years old and older:

  • 0       | No Pain
  • 1–3   | Level 1 – Mild Pain, annoying but doesn’t interfere with daily activities
  • 4–6   | Level 2 – Moderate Pain, increases substantially with daily activities
  • 7–10 | Level 3 – Severe Pain, incapable of performing daily activities

Second, there are different pain components.

  • Sensory discriminative component. How our brain analyzes the pain we feel… it’s location, intensity, continuance, and features.
  • Emotional component. Our pain level is often associated more or less by emotions such as fear, anger, loss of control over the situation, helplessness and dread.
  • Autonomic component. Pain results in reactions inside our bodies to various systems such as the autonomic nervous system, which in turn results is feelings of nauseousness, increased blood pressure as well as heart rate.
  • Motor component. Our reflexes when we experience pain: protective reflexes such as pulling our hand away from something very hot like an iron, changing postures, relieving muscle strain.
  • Cognitive component. Pain is characterized based on past experiences, observations or research.

Third, there are different qualities of pain.

  • Superficial. Pain that is on the exterior of our bodies, on the skin. There’s both acute superficial pain and deep superficial pain. Deep superficial pain often prompts defensive reflexes.
  • Deep. Joints, skeletal muscle, bones, and connective tissue. Challenging to find the source.
  • Intestinal. Strong and dull rather than sharp. Symptoms include sweating, nausea and a strong sensation of feeling sick.

Fourth, there is a psychological aspect to pain that impacts the pain level. The psychology of pain is so complex, that there are literally millions of books written on the subject in the hopes we could master it. Yet, the opioid crisis underscores how little we understand pain despite all the information available to us. For example, how are some able to acquire a “high tolerance of pain,” and is this ability linked to positive thinking and or compartmentalization? Mind over matter? Some can walk on coals. Mind power seems to matter in managing pain.

Below is a brief analysis provided by a test subject, a middle aged woman who’s very active, and a runner, a woman who should be suffering from arthritis based on family history, yet she has none, in fact she experiences very little pain (somewhere between 0 and Level 1, she says she has a slight bump in pain level when she walks several miles in the city in her dress boots). Anecdotal examples such as these are only that… a seeming clue based on one test subject that indicates there are indeed healthy daily habits that we can incorporate into our lives that can dramatically alleviate the presence of pain in our lives.

Building a strong immune system. The front line offense for healthy living and minimal pain is a strong personal immune system. Why do most animals seem so healthy despite the many toxins in the environment? It appears animals have supersonic immune systems. They don’t go to doctors. They don’t take medication. It’s rare to see animals limping or howling in pain. So how do they do it?

The key elements in building a strong immune system, recommended by our female test subject, are below. Interestingly, these are the same ideal personal daily habits we’ve all learned in school, and grew up hearing from our parents, basics that our doctors recommended at every visit. Imagine.

  • Deep sleep – many people can sleep for eight hours but never reach deep sleep. This is also the challenge with sleeping aids, the inability to reach REM sleep. Eye shields seem like magic, they make deep sleep achievable every single night. Also, no sugar after 3:00 PM. Thirty minutes of exercise every single day.
  • Daily exercise – a minimum of 30 minutes of brisk walking is ideal. Weight management is important when trying to minimize pain. Weight in itself can be a contributing factor in pain intensity.
  • Daily vitamin – the basic 100% level for all the essential vitamins; since so many vitamins these days carry an excessive amount of extra dosage, stunning percents such as 1500% RDA, our test source recommends children’s vitamins which have a max of 100%.
  • Healthy eating – Organic fruits, vegetables, grains, very little dairy, white meat as a condiment, purified water, very little sugar, no trans fats.
  • Sunflower Seeds – 1/4 cup a day, serotonin boost that will help with positive thinking.
  • Garlic – one clove of fresh garlic pressed into 1/4 cup of purified water, heated in microwave for 43 seconds, add a dash of cold water so it can be chugged quickly (it tastes terrible), chase with something delicious. Garlic has been an ancient cure for 4,000 years. It strengthens the immune system, cures, diseases, can be used topically on any type of would as well as bug bites and poison ivy. Used during World War I & II to fight gangrene. Amazingly, one whole bulb of fresh garlic is only, which typically has 5 – 10 cloves, only costs .59 cents
  • Positive thinking – Mind over matter has worked for millenniums. Compartmentalization. It’s impossible to think two thoughts at the same time. So, if thinking positive happy thoughts, you can’t think of pain at the same time. You’re tricking yourself. Music often helps.

In short, deep sleep, healthy eating, garlic, and walking everyday, seem very manageable, inexpensive and honestly… downright simple when it comes to managing pain. Try for yourself and after a few months, please let us know how it’s working for you.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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