How Women Can Protect Their Bodies During Pregnancy

Many of us have been led to believe a piece of conventional "wisdom" that is taking a significant toll on our health - especially on women and children, says Robert Thompson, M.D., an OB/GYN and integrative medicine specialist.

The conventional wisdom, more accurately described as ignorance, is that we need an abundance of prescription drugs and vitamin supplements, including calcium, to have strong bones and overall good health.

"Bones are composed of at least a dozen minerals and we need all of them in perfect proportions in order to have healthy bones and healthy bodies," says Thompson, author of "The Calcium Lie II: What Your Doctor Still Doesn't Know," ( The new book, coauthored by health journalist Kathleen Barnes, details the roles minerals play in overall health and how to identify and correct deficiencies and imbalances.

"Osteoporosis is caused by a loss of minerals from the bones, not just calcium, and we cannot possibly replace minerals with calcium alone, which hardens concrete!"

Consuming too much calcium, through food sources or by taking supplements, set up individuals for an array of negative health consequences, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, Type 2 hypothyroidism, hypertension, depression, problem pregnancies, dementia, heart disease, kidney stones, gallstones and more.

Mineral deficiencies are at the root of a host of health problems. Using flavor-of-the-month drugs or vitamins compounds the problem. Thompson reviews how this affects women, children and women who are experiencing menopause, and what they can do about it.

•  The mineral cost of pregnancy ... Women become very vigilant about their health during pregnancy, because they know it affects their babies. Although there are a lot of differences of opinion in the general public on what is best, it is a known fact that pregnant women lose about 10 percent of their total mineral supply to their babies. So, while pregnant, the average woman loses nearly four pounds of minerals to her baby with each pregnancy.

•  Don't underestimate the long-term benefit of using unrefined sea salt. Skilled and experienced farmers know that unrefined sea salt is essential to the health of his or her animals. For more than 50 years, farmers have known that sea salt, or rock salt, is essential for their stock to remain healthy and to breed without birth defects. While we're not farm mammals, all mammals do have similar physiology. It follows that unrefined salt, which is the best source of sodium and ionic minerals, may have similar benefits for pregnant women and their children.

"I want to emphasize that this is a long-term benefit," Thompson says. "Minerals gained from using unrefined sea salt - which yields 15 percent trace ionic minerals - should have similar benefits for human pregnancy in helping to prevent birth defects and miscarriage."

•  The problems women experience with menopause. It's estimated that up to 40 percent of perimenopausal (nearly menopausal) women have low thyroid function that adds to their symptoms when their hormones begin to fluctuate, "but I believe this is far too conservative of a figure," Thompson says. "More realistically, it's near 90 percent or more, and hypothyroidism is probably near 95 percent, especially if a woman is more than 20 percent above her ideal body weight. In addition to hypothyroidism, excessive calcium contributes to dementia and other menopausal problems." To be clear, excess calcium, usually from supplementation and fortification in foods leads to these problems.

•  Consider bioidentical hormones. There is overwhelming biological evidence that bioidentical hormone replacement is not only natural and safe, but it also improves the quality of life and reduces breast cancer incidence, heart disease, stroke, dementia, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and nearly all known chronic illness associated with aging. Balanced physiologic transmucosal bioidentical hormone replacement is the specific method to consider.

About Robert Thompson, M.D.

Dr. Robert Thompson is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, and a nutrition specialist who helps patients get long-term relief from chronic disease, including obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. His newest book, "The Calcium Lie II," is available for free at Dr. Thompson received his medical training at the University of Kentucky and has been a leader in medical advances for more than 30 years.

Can Parents Use Video Games As Lessons In Life?
Engineer, Parent & Former School Teacher Crafts Novel Method For Teachable Moments

In the history of child development, the widespread participation in the use of video games is not only a relatively new phenomenon, but a widespread one, too.

Ninety-seven percent of children and adolescents in the United States play at least one hour per day, according to the American Psychological Association.

Naturally, many parents and educators worry that this game time is subtracting from healthy skills children should be developing, such as reading.

"As children grow into teenagers and then young adults, finding your favorite novel as a young person, for example, can have immeasurable benefits by answering questions like: Who am I? What do I value? How do I move forward in life?" says Mark Cheverton (, a former public school teacher of 15 years, an engineer with GE and a father who was inspired to write novels for his son and other children to help teach life lessons.

"Of course, books - whether print or digital versions - are the best sources for in-depth knowledge about anything, from gardening to history to science and more. Establishing reading as a habit is necessary for the well-being of the world."

Cheverton offers tips for parents who want to encourage healthy habits to their children, including reading and more.

•  Find books that reflect video game themes. "Invasion of the Overworld: Book One in the Gameknight999 Series: An Unofficial Minecrafter's Adventure," a book by Cheverton, is an effective example. What better way to get a kid to read a book than to offer one that's about the video games they are obsessed with? In this case, it's about the popular game Minecraft.

•  Parent participation can create additional teachable moments for issues like bullying. "I've come to love playing Minecraft with my son, who spent months building things on his server: castles, bridges, underwater cities, factories, everything and anything his imagination could conceive," Cheverton says. "Video games can have its benefits, too, creating opportunities to communicate with your child on those teachable moments we may dread, like when my son was bullied, but other habits ought to balance a child's life as well."

•  Computer gaming can have positive benefits with family relationships. It turns out that there has been plenty of research out there on the benefits of parents playing computer games with their kids - not by computer game makers, but by respected universities. Researchers from Arizona State University suggest that "Parents miss a huge opportunity when they walk away from playing video games with their kids." From Brigham Young University, researchers studied 287 families and looked at how they play video games together. The BYU team found that girls from ages 11 to 16, who played video games with a parent, reported better behavior, more feelings of family closeness and less aggression than girls who played alone or with friends. In addition, there is a great TED talk that discusses game playing and the positive effectives - both for family closeness and health.

•  Games like Minecraft may offer an interest in engineering, city planning, etc. Many children who take to games that entail building cities may naturally take an interest later in life in the details of building things in the real world. Of course, children who love video games may want to know how the games themselves work or are of a high quality, which can lead to further interest in technology. Whether it's a future career in video games, computer programming, engineering or a very long list of high-paying jobs, gaming can lead to good things.

About Mark Cheverton

Mark Cheverton ( majored in physics and math as an undergraduate in college and went on to teach in public schools for 15 years. While teaching he earned a master's degree in physics. He later went on to work for GE's Global Research Center, where he researched laser welding , 3D printing, machine vision, process monitoring and machine control. He began writing his Minecraft series to help explain difficult lessons to his son, now 11. Those lessons include taking risks, a willingness to try something difficult and how to be brave. The books also address the sensitive topic of bullying.

More Introspection Is Needed For Long-Term Business Success, Says Former Naval Officer And Business Leader

The entrepreneurial spirit may be taking a hit these days.

Studies show members of the Millennial generation appear less interested than previous generations in starting their own businesses, preferring instead to find work with established companies. In 1989, 11.6 percent of households headed by someone younger than 30 held a stake in or owned a private enterprise; today that percentage is 3.6 percent, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Randy H. Nelson finds that troubling, but perhaps understandable.

"The statistics show the odds of success for a new business are pretty dismal," says Nelson, author of the Amazon best-selling book "The Second Decision: The Qualified Entrepreneur." (

"Half of new U.S. small businesses fail in their first five years, and 70 percent have gone under by year 10. That's not exactly a new trend, but what is a new is that each year in the United States more businesses now are shutting down than are being started."

But Nelson, who developed leadership skills as a Navy submarine officer and has a track record of starting and building successful businesses, says there is a reason for those sobering statistics.

Anyone can become an entrepreneur. No qualifications are required. If more entrepreneurs understood the ramifications of that - and took steps to compensate for their weaknesses - the odds of success could improve, Nelson says.

One problem is entrepreneurs tend to be extraordinarily confident, which can blind them to their weaknesses.

Nelson remembers that early in his business career his wife asked if he knew what he was doing. He assured her he did. Since then, experience taught him he was wrong.

"The truth was, I didn't know what I didn't know," Nelson says.

Over time, Nelson became what he calls a "qualified entrepreneur." He says when he looks back over his 25-year entrepreneurial career that he could clearly identify four components of the qualified entrepreneur, and recently he added the fifth component, self-awareness, which is an important piece of each of the other four.

·  Entrepreneurship. People who become entrepreneurs are usually brimming with self-confidence, Nelson says. That helps them when it comes to making that "first decision" of starting a new company, all but ignoring those sobering odds for failure that would dissuade many others. The entrepreneur optimistically thinks: "I know I can do this."

·  Career-Long learning. Entrepreneurs think growth all the time for their businesses. They preach their vision to employees and hire the best talent to help them reach their goals. But are entrepreneurs growing their skillsets as fast as their companies grow? If not, they risk becoming the wrong person in the wrong seat, with the very employees they hired to take them to the promised land asking: "What value do you bring to the company?"

·  Leadership. The importance of good leadership is paramount to business success, but not all leaders are created equal. Nelson breaks down leaders into four types. The "urgent/reactive" leader thrives on an almost crazed atmosphere where he or she can ride to the rescue, put out the fire and move on to the next problem. There isn't much time for introspection and no real vision. An "ever optimistic" leader starts from the belief there is nothing he or she can't do. "Yes, we can do that!" is the typical answer from this type of leader...leaving it up to their staff to figure out how, even if accepting the new business takes them away from their core focus.

The "reflexively pessimistic" leader plays to survive, not to win. This leader has been toughened by hard times, and always worries about the economy's effect on the business, Nelson says. In some industries easily battered by a downturn, this style can be effective. But if maintained too long, the pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The final leadership style, the "steady/proactive" leader, is the one every CEO should strive to become, Nelson says. This type of leader values productivity and profitable growth above all things, knows how to achieve both and can course-correct no matter the difficulty. "They understand both offense and defense, and can shift between them as cycles dictate," Nelson says.

·  Life cycle. A business has different needs at different stages of the corporate life cycle. The qualified entrepreneur must recognize that. The startup stage is where many entrepreneurs thrive. Creating something from scratch is what they are about. Needs and challenges change, though, as companies enter growth or expansion stages. The entrepreneur's needs change, too, because entrepreneurs have their own life cycle, Nelson says.

First, there's getting the business started, and then there's the second-decision stage when the entrepreneur needs to choose what role he or she plays in the business, and whether others might be better equipped. There's also a third decision when entrepreneurs realize work infringes too much on family and personal time, Nelson says. "To avoid regrets later, you have to consider whether you need to make a stronger commitment to a more balanced life." Finally, there's the end stage when the entrepreneur is finished with the current business and must decide what is next. Having experienced the "exit" twice in his career, Nelson has come to realize that after the sale only a few lives really change. Everybody else goes on with their normal day while the entrepreneur, much like a retired athlete, must figure out how to function without leading their entrepreneurial venture every day.

"Ideally, entrepreneurs and CEOs would be more knowledgeable than everyone we manage," Nelson says. "That's rare, though. The rest of us would benefit from a better understanding of the vast reaches of what we don't know, and a dose of the humility that goes with it, and this is where the self-awareness component comes in."

·  Self-Awareness. Entrepreneurs need to know their strengths and weaknesses, and how they affect the business, Nelson says. Unfortunately, that's a trait they often fail to develop. His suggestion: Surround yourself with people who know more than you (entrepreneurs, leaders, and coaches/advisors who have been through all the life-cycle stages the entrepreneur is navigating through) and learn from them. Once you have a clear understanding of what you do and don't know, you can decide your next steps. Will you continue to lead the business directly; take a supporting role and let someone else lead; or move on to create another business?

About Randy H. Nelson

Randy H. Nelson is a speaker, a coach, a Qualified Entrepreneur, a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and author of "The Second Decision - The Qualified Entrepreneur" ( He co-founded and later sold two market-leading, multi-million dollar companies ? Orion International and NSTAR Global Services. His proudest professional achievement was at the Fast 50 awards ceremony in the Raleigh, N.C., area when NSTAR, a 10-year-old company, and Orion, a 22-year-old company, were awarded the rankings No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. Nelson now runs Gold Dolphins, LLC, a coaching and consulting firm to help entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs become Qualified Entrepreneurs and achieve their maximum potential. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Miami University, Ohio, and was awarded the Admiral Sidney W. Souers Distinguished Alumni Award there in 2011.

Death of the Small- to Mid-Tier Agency Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Since the 1980's, the anticipated shrinkage in numbers of the small- to mid-tier ad agencies (less than 100 people or so) has not happened. If anything, there are more of them! While worldwide mega-agency groups (starting with Saatchi & Saatchi back then) have continued to grow, merge, morph, and control more media dollars, the small, independent shops stubbornly remain. There are several reasons why even worldwide brands, as well as local or regional brands, prefer working with small- to mid-tier shops.

•  Relationships matter - Most businesses are small themselves, and those large enough to seek the help of an ad agency, PR firm or web shop prefer to do so, in most cases, with similarly-sized companies. In RFPs, a common question is about the agency's client roster and where the prospect's account would fit in the pecking order. Mattering to an agency's business translates to a certain amount of leverage, regardless of the added services or bench strength the larger agency promises it would give access to. All that added firepower that's promised sounds good, but in reality, how much will actually be used on your business?

•  The age of specialization - Almost as common as in the field of medicine, many small shops have become known for their areas of expertise, whether based on creative, or digital media, by client, or channel experience and reputation. Very often advertisers want the particular ingredient for which the small shop excels. It's not uncommon for marketing departments of larger advertisers to manage several "boutique" agencies to keep ideas fresh and flowing.

•  The digital age - The advent of personal computers and the Internet have been the great equalizer between large and small agencies. As long as a small shop stays current with technology, they can compete with agencies twice their size; provided the brain-power and desire is equal to the task. The search ability of the Internet, affordable survey programs, and niche market research available off the shelf, has also leveled the playing field of category knowledge and competitive intel.

•  An appreciation for experience - Make no mistake; the ad business is a young business. Always has been and always will be. That's because historically, many consumer brands (which constitute the bulk of advertising dollars) are aimed at a young adult demographic. But as the population has aged, the number of active, senior-level ad execs has also increased. Many of these are found as the hands-on ownership or leadership in small agencies that they themselves have started. Clients, in turn, benefit enormously from direct access to their tried and true wisdom and insight.

•  The end of the three-martini lunch - The move toward a more accountable approach to client service began in the 90's, as accounting systems and MBA's began to take hold. The recent Great Recession cemented this new, more austere reality. Clients, on the whole, are simply more overhead sensitive nowadays. They know intuitively they will ultimately be paying for all of those assistant's assistants, lavish offices, and entertainment. Small- to mid-tier agencies, on the other hand, run leaner operations out of necessity. And smart clients appreciate the obvious stewardship of money - their money.

•  Demand for better service - As the ad business has matured, the associated mystery and mystique has diminished to a certain extent. Clients are less inclined to suffer aloof, prima donna creative directors, disorganized media buyers or absent-minded account executives. They want and expect more service for their marketing dollar. They have seen "the man behind the curtain." It's been our experience that small- to mid-tier shops, even with smaller "bench depth," deliver as good if not better service for most clients than shops that are much larger.

About the Authors:

Over the last 35 years, Jim Lindsey has served as vice-chairman at several of the world's most powerful advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, McCaffrey & McCall, and Hill Holiday/Wakeman & DeForrest. He has been honored with more than 50 ADDY Awards, Clio Awards, and Golden Quill Awards and is a recipient of advertising's highest honor, The Silver Medal Award. He has managed hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising contracts on behalf of advertisers around the world.

Paul Friederichsen specializes in marketing strategy and award-winning creative direction and television campaigns for developing and launching brands. He has done so for The Home Depot, Dixie Crystals Sugar, ITT Technical Institutes, RCA and GE consumer electronics, among other category-leading clients. Paul has held executive creative positions at several top advertising firms, including Saatchi & Saatchi.

A Family-Wealth Guru Offers 4 Insights For Choosing (Or Agreeing To Be) A Trustee

The greatest transfer of wealth in history is happening right now, according to a study from the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy.

A staggering amount - $59 trillion - is projected to be passed down to heirs, charities and taxes between 2007 and 2061.

"We are in the middle of a massive, unprecedented wealth transfer from the World War II generation to the Baby Boomers, and then to subsequent generations," says family wealth guru John Pankauski, author of the new book, "Pankauski's Trustee's Guide: 10 Steps to Family Trustee Excellence."

"But much of that wealth will not be given to beneficiaries outright."

Instead, he says, it will be held in a trust, which is a distinct entity, much like a corporation. The trust is managed by a trustee, who protects the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Sounds good - as long as trustees are honest individuals who don't use the trust as a personal ATM, and simmering rivalries among beneficiaries don't explode, Pankauski says.

"Some trusts will be competently managed," he says. "Others will be abused in a number of ways the creator of the trust had not intended."

The best way to ensure money is handled correctly - and honestly - is to pick the right trustee, but the right one may not be obvious, he says.

Pankauski, founder of the Pankauski Law Firm (, offers perspective on how to choose a trustee.

·  Don't choose just anyone! Family members, friends and even felons theoretically could be entrusted with managing an inheritor's money. But tread carefully. "Your hard-earned money could be fought over, misspent or squandered if you leave inheritances in a haphazard way or choose a trustee who handles the trust improperly," Pankauski says. A family member often is chosen, but he warns that can lead to ill will among relatives. The decision on the trustee should be treated like a business consideration, not a personal one.

·  Multiple trustees are allowed, but can cause problems. Personal relationships that were previously cordial can turn icy when there are multiple trustees. Co-trustees administer the trust by majority rule unless the trust document demands unanimous decisions. A common problem Pankauski sees is when there are two co-trustees who don't get along, but must agree on everything. It may make sense to have a third co-trustee, such as an impartial trust attorney or bank or trust company, to serve as the tiebreaker.

Pankauski also offers perspective on whether to be a trustee.

·  "I am trusted, but should I be a trustee?" Being a trustee is a great responsibility. Perfection is not required, but incompetence won't be tolerated, Pankauski says. Criticisms could flow freely. If you're holding a lot of cash and the markets go up, beneficiaries complain that you failed to capture those gains. If you're fully invested in the market and the market takes a dip, the beneficiaries complain that you are overexposed. If one of six beneficiaries requests funds for a minor child's education, the other five will want a similar distribution?regardless of need. You may be fairly compensated for your duties as trustee, but the money may not be worth the potential headaches.

·  You don't have to accept the appointment. You can decline to serve. Merely sign a one-page document, which can be as brief as a sentence, stating you decline. No reason is required. Deliver your statement, and a copy of the trust, including all original documents you have, to the beneficiaries and the successor trustee named in the trust document. If no successor trustee is named, you should notify the beneficiaries in writing that you decline to serve and they should retain counsel to protect their interests.

You can agree to serve and later resign. But doing so raises a host of issues, Pankauski says. You can't just ditch your duties. You are still in charge until there is a smooth transition to a successor.

Regardless of whether you plan to create a trust, or you have been appointed trustee of one, you will want to seek legal counsel, Pankauski says.

"The laws that govern the management of a trust vary from state to state and evolve over time," he says. "The right guidance is essential."

About John Pankauski

John Pankauski, the grandson of Polish and Lithuanian immigrants, was deeply influenced by his parents - products of the Depression and World War II who imparted their values of hard work and thrift. He studied political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He attended Suffolk University Law School in Boston, and later obtained a master's degree in law from the University of Miami School of Law's Graduate Program in estate planning. He founded the Pankauski Law Firm PLLC, (, to create a boutique firm of highly talented professionals that restricts its practice to administration and litigation of family wealth and disputes involving wills, trusts, and estates. In addition to trying cases and handling appeals, the firm defends trustees and advises beneficiaries on their rights related to inheritances, power of attorneys, contested guardianships, investments, and family business interests.

Contracts Often Limit Where Physicians Can Work If They Change Employers

Patients may just shrug when they learn their doctor plans to move to a new office.

After all, they can just follow, right?

Maybe not. Or at least, not easily.

Physician contracts often contain restrictive covenants that limit where doctors can work if they leave their current practices. The idea is to keep them from competing with their old employer.

For example, the contract could require the doctor's new office to be 15 or more miles away. The doctor also might have to give up privileges at the local hospital.

"These contract provisions hold numerous traps for the unwary," says Dennis Hursh, an attorney who has provided legal services to physicians for more than three decades and is the author of "The Final Hurdle: A Physician's Guide to Negotiating a Fair Employment Agreement." (

Patients can be left scrambling to find a new physician.

The situation can be even worse for the doctor, who essentially might have to start his or her career over again, building a new patient base.

Hursh says it's not unusual for him to answer desperate phone calls from doctors who paid little attention when they agreed to their contracts, but now wonder whether their soon-to-be-former employers can enforce the restrictions.

"Unfortunately, they probably can," he says.

Doctors need to be diligent and negotiate favorable terms before they sign an employment contract, he says. Hursh says there are several ways to deal with restrictive covenants so that doctors are not facing career-damaging situations.

•  Keep the distance reasonable. Although geographic restrictions are common, in most cases the agreement should not require the doctor's new office to be more than five miles from the old one. In rural areas, a somewhat larger area may be reasonable, Hursh says.
Also, when employers have multiple offices, the distance rule should apply only to the office where the doctor spent most of his or her working time.

•  The general practice of medicine should not be restricted. "It's one thing to agree that patients will have to drive five miles from your old office if they want to continue seeing you," Hursh says. "It's another thing to agree you won't see patients in hospitals, nursing homes or ambulatory surgical centers that are within the prohibited area."

•  Continuing the doctor-patient relationship. Patients often become attached to a particular doctor and want to stick with him or her. But when a doctor moves to a new practice that can get tricky.

Contracts usually prohibit doctors from directly asking their patients to follow them to the new practice, Hursh says. Barring such solicitation, whether it's in the office or by phone call or letter, is reasonable, he says. But advertisements by the doctor's new employer should not be considered direct solicitation.

•  Sometimes restrictions should not apply. If an employer fires a doctor without cause, then the restrictive covenant should not go into effect, Hursh says. That's also true if the employer breaches its agreement with the doctor, although that can be difficult to negotiate, he says.

"An employer could worry the physician will claim some far-fetched theory of an alleged breach to get out of the restriction," he says. "One way to deal with that might be to list specific grounds for a breach in the contract."

Hursh says one of the most extreme cases he ever experienced involved a doctor whose non-compete clause prohibited the practice of medicine within 65 miles.

A hospital 62 miles away wanted to hire him.

It was while negotiating a contract with the hospital that Hursh and the hospital's attorney discovered the restriction.

"The restriction was so ludicrous that we both agreed that the former employer would almost certainly lose if they tried to sue," Hursh says.

But the hospital figured: why take chances.

The offer to hire the doctor was withdrawn.

About Dennis Hursh

Dennis Hursh has been providing health-care legal services for more than three decades. Since 1992, he has been managing partner of Hursh & Hursh, P.C.,, a Pennsylvania law firm that serves the needs of physicians and medical practices. He is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, where he is involved in the Physician Organizations Practice Group.

Exposing The Health Industry's Big Secret

Imagine suffering chronic pain - say, in the form of headaches or migraines.

Happily, you've found a solution to the problem. It has been several months of losing focus, sleep and general interest in the things you used to like. You went to a doctor and he told you an NTI device, which addresses jowl clenching during sleep, will offer immediate relief. Or maybe your family doctor gave you a pain-relief prescription for your headaches.

"As doctors, we like to have answers for our patient's problems, but misdiagnosis is one of our biggest problems in this country when it comes to chronic pain," says Dr. Fred Abeles, author of the book "Break Away: The New Method for Treating Chronic Headaches, Migraines and TMJ Without Medication" (

"We're the 'microwave' generation and we like our problems to be solved immediately. Our medical profession has responded and is always geared for quick fixes. In reality, treating only the symptoms, and not the root cause, can worsen your problem."

For one, too many of us ignore the basics of good health, Abeles says.

"A huge volume of health problems would be eliminated if only people learned more about nutrition, modified their diets and got regular exercise each week," he says. "Cardio three times a week and some strength training - along with a reasonably healthy diet - would help millions tremendously."

There are many doctors you may see to help with your headache pain, he says, such as ENTs, dentists, neurologists, chiropractors, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) specialists and many more. Ask questions. If a dentist suggests realigning your jaw, for example, you'll want to make sure a thorough physiological work-up and diagnosis has been completed first. Be discerning. Be informed.

"Most doctors really want to help, but sometimes they're wrong," he says. "You have to be your own best health advocate."

Abeles offers what he calls his The H.E.A.L. Formula™.

•  HELP yourself - take control of your outcome. Don't accept chronic pain as a life sentence and stop taking pills to mask symptoms. When you improve your health, the lives of those around you improve also. There's more love, happiness and fun for everyone.

•  EVERYTHING is connected. The teeth. The joints. The tendons. The ligaments. The jaw. The head. The neck. The muscles. They all have to work together in harmony to not produce pain.

•  ALIGN the jaw. Align the bite. When everything is aligned, the muscles are happy. And happy muscles do not create pain.

•  LEARN about and utilize the new methods for successfully treating chronic headaches, migraines and TMJ without medication.

"The best time to address your chronic pain and what's behind it is the first time you experience it," Abeles says. "But if you've endured many months or years of pain - perhaps masking it with prescription drugs - then the second best time to uncover the cause is right now."

About Dr. Fred Abeles

Dr. Fred Abeles is known as one of the most sought after TMJ experts in the United States ( He's famous for getting results where others have failed and getting those results without the use of surgery, needles or drugs. He is author of the new book "Break Away: The New Method for Treating Chronic Headaches, Migraines and TMJ Without Medication." Abeles is the Clinical Instructor and Regional Director for the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies - one of the most prestigious post-graduate teaching centers in the world today. Dr. Abeles has been featured on NBC and CBS, consults with leading dental manufacturers on the development of new dental products, been on the cover of the profession's biggest magazines and instructed dentists throughout the United States and Canada on state-of-the-art techniques for treating headaches and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Fear & Close-mindedness Are Arguably The Real Tragedy Of Death, Says Franciscan Renaissance Man

There are those who just know how they'll react if and when they have to confront their own mortality. They will freely admit that they'll be petrified, and others are confident that they won't be scared at all.

"Perhaps they're right, or perhaps they're projecting how they think they're supposed to feel; in my case, neither fear nor bravery were the dominant notes, but rather one of spiritual and intellectual curiosity and edification," says Ron Walter, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, successful businessman and advocate of ecumenical Franciscan spirituality.

"I recently  had to face my own mortality once again as I dealt with effects of multiple myeloma and ensuing chemotherapy treatment. The encounter led me to a spiritual trek through philosophy, theology and science. In our evolutionary world, I suggest a view of death for we humans as yet another transition into a new form of being."

How does someone become so circumspect when facing death? Walter, author of "Theory of Everything: Franciscan Faith and Reason," (, offers guidance.

•  Allow your spiritual intuitions to unfold. Most people have some kind of belief system on spiritual matters, which may remain untested for years and even decades. Whether you're a devout Catholic, Orthodox Jew, secular Buddhist or one of the growing numbers of "spiritual but not religious," facing death forces a renewed and often harsh look at one's true beliefs. As fallible as the mind can be, it is often attuned to signals emergent from deeper truth when faced with significant circumstances. Do not ignore those signals.

•  Appearances are often misleading. Are reason and faith at odds? How do we really know what will happen to us in death? We might find a clue in death as many of the faithful have in life. Many see the universe entailing a nearly infinite sequence of random events, leading to phenomena such as life on Earth. Most others, however, see a rhyme and reason beyond apparent chaos. Likewise, the apparent silence of death may be just that - apparent. For the spirit experiencing death, a new and unfathomable life may be emerging.

•  Obsessed with one religion, denomination or knowledge base? Death's proposition may have you looking elsewhere. "I find Franciscan theology and spirituality as well positioned to integrate other fields of knowledge and spirituality," Walter says. "While others prefer specific spiritual traditions, I hope they are not blind to the possibilities posed by other traditions. I believe every religion possesses only a  glimpse of God, and disciplines such as science and philosophy capture some of God's content and significance."

"When we hear 'death,' we're conditioned to tremble within," Walter says. "But when we see it for its deeper truth - involving the transformation of body, mind and spirit, recognizing the interchangeability of matter and energy - I think most of us can come away from the inevitable with greater equanimity."

About Ron Walter

Ron Walter ( is an author, commentator and guest speaker with expertise in human spirituality, business management and military leadership. A retired corporate executive with more than 20 years active military service, Colonel Walter currently serves on Boards of Directors for the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Vesuvius Press Inc. in Phoenix. He is a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM). "Theory of Everything: Franciscan Faith and Reason," recounts Walter's spiritual awakening following chemotherapy in the winter of 2012/2013. It explores the natures of God, humanity and the cosmos from the perspectives of noted philosophers, theologians and scientists. A major conclusion of the book is that finite beings emerge within Trinitarian relations of divine Love.

Black Students Are Often Punished Disproportionately, But There Are Steps For Addressing That,
School Psychologist Says It's the kind of moment that causes a parent to cringe - or even panic.

Word arrives from school that the parent's child is in trouble. Maybe it was a minor offense and the student simply faced a trip to the office. But maybe a suspension or expulsion is in the near future, leaving the parents wondering whether they could have done something before the situation became so dire.

Before parents beat themselves up too much, though, they should remember that student discipline isn't always a clear-cut thing, says Renae Azziz, founder and director of Virtuoso Education Consulting (, which provides professional development training to teachers and school district leaders.

"The reasons students are sent to the office are not always well defined," says Azziz, a school psychologist. "So-called problem behaviors are often too subjective, which leads to different teachers having different perceptions and definitions of what a problem behavior is."

The situation can be especially frustrating for the parents of these students. Numerous studies have shown that African-American students are more likely than their white peers to be severely punished for their transgressions.

Cultural misunderstandings between teachers and students often are at the core of those disproportionate punishments, Azziz says. When there is a mismatch between what the teacher sees as acceptable behavior and the student's view, problems can surface.

Teachers can learn to account for those cultural differences through explicit and ongoing training focused on culture. But there are also steps all parents can take that will go a long way in helping their children understand the school's expectations, Azziz says.

She offers these tips:

•  Educate yourself. Parents should read the school's discipline handbook and become familiar with the expectations for behavior in their child's school. That way parents will have a clearer understanding of the rules and can discuss them with the child. Handbooks lay out all kinds of information, such as what constitutes bullying or how unexcused absences affect participation in extracurricular activities. "Knowing and talking about the rules can help you head off problems," Azziz says.

•  Positive reinforcement at home. Parents can set up positive ways to acknowledge their student for doing the right thing at home that connect to the behavior expectations at school. Children usually respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement, so praise at home for correct behavior can translate into good behavior in the classroom.

•  Learn the rules face to face. Early in the school year, parents should meet with their child's teacher and principal to define and clarify behavior expectations and discuss how you will communicate with each other. Often, email is a good way to communicate with teachers because they can read and respond to the correspondence after class is over for the day. But find out what the teacher prefers. Good communication can help the parent and the teacher work together to make sure behavior expectations are understood and followed.

•  Championing the child. A parent should be the child's advocate. "After all, if you aren't in your child's corner, who is?" she asks. But that doesn't mean taking the attitude: My child is always right. "You will need to be fair and balanced," Azziz says.

About Renae Azziz

Renae Azziz is the Founder and Director of Virtuoso Education Consulting ( She and her team of consultants support educators nationally in the areas of Response-to-Intervention, Data-Based Decision Making, Assessment, Positive Behavior Support, and Culturally Responsive Practices. Before starting Virtuoso Education Consulting, Renae practiced as a school psychologist in Indiana. Renae also worked on grants funded by the Indiana Department of Education supporting Indiana's Initiatives on Response to Intervention, Culturally Responsive PBIS, and Minority Disproportionality in Special Education. She was appointed by former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to the Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services. Renae's degrees include an Ed.S. in School Psychology, an M.S. in Educational Psychology, and a B.A. with honors in Psychology, all from Indiana University. She is working towards completion of her Doctorate in Education at The Johns Hopkins University

Working Out A Safe-Money Strategy
Financial Consultants Say Retirees Can Take Steps To Protect Savings From Vagaries Of The Market

As people creep into the retirement "red zone" - those years just before or right after they retire - it becomes more important than ever that they find ways to keep their savings safe.

Because at that point, their retirement picture will change significantly only if they lose a lot of money, says Chris Bennett, co-founding partner of The Abbott Bennett Group, (

"They are not going to change who they are," Bennett says. "But if they lose a bucket of money, they are not going to go out to eat, they won't travel, they won't be able to leave money to their children and grandchildren. They will end up having to make sacrifices."

In other words, they won't be living the retirement they envisioned all those years they were saving a nest egg.

Having a "safe money" strategy is key to a secure retirement, say Bennett and Michael Abbott, CFO of the firm. It's important to be able to create an income stream that the retiree won't outlive.

There are several areas you and your financial professional can focus on as part of an overall "safe money" strategy, Abbott and Bennett say. Here are two examples:

• Rate of return vs. sequence of return. The average rate of return on an investment can be misleading, they say. That's because in reality how well you hang onto your money depends more on "sequence of return." That is, exactly when do those profits and losses come about?

To see how that might work, imagine a 50 percent loss followed by a 50 percent gain. That would appear to average out to a zero rate of return. But that's not how it would look in your portfolio, Bennett says. If you have $100,000, a 50 percent loss drops it to $50,000. The market rebounds with a 50 percent gain. But a 50 percent gain on $50,000 just increases that investment to $75,000, so you've still taken a loss.

Now consider that kind of activity over the course of your retirement as you are also withdrawing money from your savings to live on. Depending on when market fluctuations happened, you could take major hits. That's especially true if the dips come early in retirement when your savings are at their peak, and the rallies arrive late when there is less left in the account.

"One big downturn and that money could run dry," Bennett says.

Abbott and Bennett say there are tools that a good financial professional uses that can help people reduce the risk created by sequence of return.

• Maneuvering toward tax-free income. "Whatever the tax rates may be in the future, taxes can be a drag on your savings and may adversely impact your retirement security," Abbott says. So it's important to consider the tax implications of how you hold your assets.

Even those Social Security benefits that retirees draw can be taxed, but they don't necessarily have to be, Bennett says. Once again, a financial professional can review strategies that could help reduce or even eliminate the tax on that monthly Social Security benefit.

"It's possible to have tax-free income in retirement," Bennett says. "Talk about being in control. Then you can just enjoy your retirement with your children and your grandchildren."

About Michael Abbott and Christopher Bennett

Michael Abbott has two decades of experience assisting retirees with their 401(k)s and pension plans. He is co-founder of The Abbott Bennett Group, LLC, an independent financial services firm, where he serves as CFO. He is a lifetime member of MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table), an association composed of the world's best financial services professionals, and a member of NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). He holds a Master of Estate Preservation designation.