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What's Making Us Sick?

Date: 06-19-12
Host: George Noory
Guests: Sydney Ross Singer, Elisha Goldstein

Medical anthropologist Sydney Ross Singer discussed the many ways our culture and lifestyle are making us sick. People are raised to be ignorant about how the body works because our society wants us to seek out "experts" when we have a problem, and become consumers of their expertise, he declared. The "entire culture is here to make money from illness," and medical problems are perpetuated because they are connected to multi-billion dollar industries that thrive off them, he continued.

He shared evidence that bras are a primary risk factor for developing breast cancer, but women are conditioned to wear the garments in order to fit into society. Bras constrict the breasts, and press against the lymphatic tissues, "so you end up getting a back up of lymph fluid that causes cysts," he explained. A study in Fiji showed that women who didn't wear bras had the same breast rate cancer as men, he added.

The common surgery to remove tonsils is problematic, as the organ stores bacteria that aids in digestion, and this may be one reason why we have an obesity epidemic, he suggested. Additionally, certain pesticides used on crops are associated with weight gain, he noted. Singer also linked health problems like migraines to people sleeping in a flat position-- in many cases this can be alleviated by elevating the head during sleep, he advised. He further associated the wearing of tight shoes with foot cancer. In general, Singer recommended that when you discover you have a problem, the first thing you should do, is ask yourself 'what am I doing wrong?', and often you can identify the cause yourself.

Cultivating Mindfulness

First hour guest, psychologist Elisha Goldstein talked about how to cultivate mindfulness. He spoke of the "the Now Effect," when someone experiences a moment of awareness, and clarity about what really matters. Many people are in a state of "continuous partial attention," diverted by their technological devices, and under higher levels of stress, he pointed out. People can pop out of the habits that are driving them into these states of imbalance using simple mental techniques. One of them he calls the STOP Practice (video), in which you take a few deep breaths, and focus your attention on what you are experiencing in your body for a minute.

News segment guests: Richard C. Hoagland, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, John Lott

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