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Is there anything you can do to increase your level of empathy? The good news is that practically anybody can improve their empathy, just as we can improve our ability to ride a bike or drive a vehicle. Empathy is a frequently used but misunderstood notion. It is often misunderstood in connection with similar notions like sympathy, identification, pity, and self-transposition. Empathy is a feature that most individuals possess – and yet the current environment makes it all too easy to lose sight of others' emotions. While empathy comes more naturally to some people, it is possible to develop it even if you are not inherently empathic. Empathy seems to come easily to the majority of children. Others may be completely capable of comprehending another's feelings yet select an unsuitable response, such as being violent.
How can empathy be taught?
Radical listening has the potential to have a profound effect on the resolution of conflict situations. Listening to people's opinions and needs - whether it's a colleague who has just been diagnosed with cancer or a spouse who is irritated with you for working late - provides them with a sense of understanding. What matters is our ability to be present to what is really occurring inside - to the particular sensations and demands that each individual is experiencing at that time. Distractions are a typical barrier to effective empathy; eliminate them wherever feasible. Put off your phone, turn off the television, put down the newspaper, and engage in genuine conversation with the person you're speaking with. However, distractions are not limited to smartphones and television. You may also get mentally or physically distracted, for example, when you are concerned or hungry. Prior to initiating a discussion, attend to your own needs so that you may be completely present with others.
Radical listening has the potential to have a profound effect on the resolution of conflict situations. | Photo by Christina on Unsplash
Consider the human factor in everything:
A second factor is to create a better sense of empathy for others by being more aware of all of the persons who exist in front of our face in our everyday lives and on whom we may rely in some capacity.
Consider the human factor in everything. | Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Develop an interest in strangers:
It is known that with some effort, almost everyone can enhance their empathetic capacity. Therefore, consider putting your empathy shoes and going on an adventure of seeing your society through the eyes of others. Empathy is essential for the development of good human interactions. Engaging in conversation with strangers strengthens our empathetic faculties. Not only may we meet interesting individuals, but we can also test our preconceived notions and biases about others based on their looks, accent, or upbringing.
It is known that with some effort, almost everyone can enhance their empathetic capacity. | Photo by Scott Barnard on Unsplash
Keywords: empathy, taught, strangers, human lifestyle, empathy definition, empathy vs sympathy
Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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By- Devakinanda Ji
OṀ (AUM)-JII-VI-ṪAAR-DHA-BO'-DHA-KA- BHOO-MYAI-Ṇ—NA-MA-HA
ॐ जीवितार्थबोधकभूम्यै नमः
(Jīviṫa: Life; Ardha: Meanining; Bodhaka: That which teaches)
What is born has to die. Anything that has form and shape has to degrade over time. The question is how one has lived his life or how long he has lived? The vanity toward their bodies, their desire for longevity, and material indulgence the westerns have; you don't see anywhere else on the planet.
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Our scriptures and sacred texts teach us that there are 8.4 million species born and every living being that is born, indeed dies. Human life is the highest species because of awareness and a human has the opportunity to redeem himself or herself in this life with the free will given to them. We have the faculties of action, freewill, and the power of knowledge. These faculties make humans different than all the other animals, which are programmed to eat, procreate and sleep. Our ancient spiritual scientists (sages, rishis, and seers) educated us to think about the temporary nature of our bodies. We take it for granted that we live forever; even as we see people around us dying. Still we live in a delusion, thinking that we won't die and will live happily ever after. But our rishis constantly remind us that we should work towards liberation while living in this body (jēvanmukta).
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Only our sacred texts like the Vedas and Upanishads can answer deep philosophical questions like: what is the purpose of our universe? The reason for our lives? the meaning and purpose of life? You may not find the answers in any other religion. Our philosophy does not stop at going to heaven after death, but discusses very thoroughly karma, rebirth, and liberation. Our Vedas discuss how to get out of the wheel of birth and death (punarapi jananam; punarapi maraṇam). They laid down dharmasūtrās (do's and don'ts) for us to live by. They clearly explain about heaven (if you believe in and desire it) and the journey the jīva (pure spirit) takes after the death of the gross body, based on the results of our actions while alive. Vedas have established the four purushārthās (dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣha) as the goals of life.
Hence, our land is the one which teaches the ends to be striven for by human beings and is 'Jīvitārdhabodhaka Bhūmi'.
Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts. Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach -- Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone. What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. | Flickr
Switch from ordinary substandard cooking oils to cold-pressed oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. | Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash
Switch from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little orno rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. | Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash
Don't take matters to your heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. |cPhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
Fix your sleep routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. | Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: lifestyle, heart, oil, stress, sleep, human, body, health, heart attack