Friday, March 30, 2018

Hay Fever Treatment Alternatives, The What, How and Why – Part I

Spring has sprung and hay fever season is just around the corner in my neck of the woods. This amazingly vibrant time of the year filled with endless rain, beautiful colors and wondrous smells of nature can be a real bear for hay fever sufferers in the Pacific N.W.  Hay fever season, in one form or another, seems to linger here all summer due to the many kinds of grass, trees and weedy plants that can set an individual’s immune system off.

What is a person to do? 

Some give up and move, while others dig their feet in and find methods to relieve the onslaught of pollen. In this series of articles, we will examine some of the common sense methods used to avoid pollen and some other allergens, prevent reactions, as well as treat the reactions to pollen. This first article will look at common sense lifestyle methods to prevent or reduce hay fever reactions. Additional articles will be available in the next couple of weeks covering dietary changes and supplements that help as well as herbal remedies.

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, it is a type I hypersensitivity reaction mediated by IgE antibodies that are set off by grass, weed and tree pollens. Pollens effects the ears, eyes, nose and throat. The eyes are itchy and watery, the person has a runny or stuffed up nose and the sneezing is obnoxious. It may interfere with sleep, work, recreation, cause a person to feel irritable and may also be associated with asthma and in severe cases induce anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals. Over the long-haul, these seasonal attacks on the person's sensitive mucous membranes may cause structural damage of the respiratory tract and can lead to nasal polyps, and vasomotor rhinitis which can cause nasal congestion all year round as well as repetitive upper respiratory tract infections.

Pollen lodges into the mucous membranes of the eyes, the nose and throughout the respiratory tract. The first time an allergy-prone person meets up with pollen, a white blood cell, called a B-cell is alerted to what it sees as an intruder. This B-cell is transformed into a plasma cell and makes large quantities of immunoglobulin E (IgE) that is specific to recognizing and attacking that pollen. The IgE made for this pollen will attach to mast cells and the next time the person comes into contact with that pollen again, the mast cells with this specific IgE on them will perceive an invasion and release powerful substances called vasoactive amines. The most powerful and the one most talked about with hay fever is histamine. Histamine is synthesized by mast cells, basophils, platelets, histaminergic neurons, and enterochromaffine cells, where it is stored intracellularly in vesicles and released on stimulation. This is what is primarily responsible for the runny/stuffy nose and watery eyes, itching and sneezing. This is an overreaction of the body due to a weakness on the part of the upper respiratory mucosa with an overreaction of the immune system. So support of the upper respiratory system and modulating the immune system are in order.

The mainstream treatments for hay fever involve antihistamines targeting H1 receptors. They have a lot of side effects and some of them with long-term use can actually exacerbate the symptomology. So what is a person to do?

Common Sense Allergen avoidance

Reducing exposure is the smartest idea, although not always practiced. Additionally, decreasing exposure to other environmental allergens, food allergens, sensitivities and toxins in the environment will help decrease the over-all inflammatory load on the body. Decreasing the pollen load starts with simply spending less time outside during high pollen counts. Since you can’t live your whole life inside though, there are some specific actions that will help you feel better during hay fever season. We will get to them after looking at some smart methods of avoidance.

• Keep your doors and windows of your house shut when there is offending pollen in the air.

• Run a good air filter in your house to remove pollen that gets inside.

• After being outside, take your clothes off and immediately put the clothes in the washer. Wash your face. Better yet, take a shower, including washing your hair. Definitely, do not go to bed with pollen on your hair.

• After coming in from outside rinsing your eyes with water is helpful. (Keep boiled cool water available during the hay fever season for this purpose. Make sure it is kept covered and clean. Renew it often.)

• If you are unable to shower or change clothing, even rinsing off your face helps a lot.
Use cold water.

• A cold compress over the closed eyes is beneficial. Better yet, is a cooled, astringent herbal tea compress. If you are unsure how to make a compress, stay tuned and I will post this easy skill soon. You can also find directions in my book Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth on page 361. Most astringent herbs will be helpful but Geranium root is one of my favorites.

• Using a neti pot with salt water to rinse the nasal passages is also helpful. The warm, sterile, salty water flushes out debris and mucus and the salightly salty water also pulls congestion out of the nasal tissues. Isotonic salt water is useful as a general tonic to the nasal passages and will decrease inflammation to the nasal tissues. There are saline sprays available that can also be used in this way. An additional method to get the salt water onto the nasal tissues is to simply pour it into your hand and snort it into each nostril while occluding off the other nostril. See directions below for making a salt water rinse, using it in a Neti-pot, as well as contraindications for using it.

• When driving your car, shut the outside vent off in your car and keep the windows rolled up.

• When outdoors, wear a mask when the pollen is bothersome.

• Do not dry your clothes outside on a line when there is pollen in the air.

• Don’t mow the grass and avoid areas where others are mowing the lawn.

• If you have a yard, choose plants that do not bother you. Remove those that do.

• Pet dander can make you sneeze and wheeze. You may need to keep your pet outside or bathe the pet since it is their dander or skin cells that cause the reaction. At least keep them out of your bedroom at all times. 

• Make sure your house is as free of mold and dust mites as possible or these may add to your reactions. Reducing dust mites is easily accomplished by removing dust in the house. Become a bit of a clean freak. Change your pillow at least once per year and use a pillow protector and clean it often.  Clean your pillowcase and bedding as often as possible. Some people find feather pillows or feather bedding adds to their inflammatory reaction. Don’t put anything from outside of the house on your bed. If your mattress is old, you may need a new one.

• If there is carpet in the house this can be a source of pollen, mold, dust mites etc. If you notice feeling worse after lying on your carpet, you might want to consider a different type of flooring.

Contraindications to Salt Water Rinses/Irrigations

Although salt water rinses can be beneficial to the allergy sufferers during hay fever season, using this method routinely could cause irritation due to the disruption of normal protective mucus and removal of other protective elements. This may increase the risk of sinus infection. So be careful about using it repetitively for prolonged periods of time or adding excessive amounts of salt to the water. Saltwater irrigations should not be used on infants.

Isotonic Irrigation Solution

Isotonic solutions contain enough dissolved solids to match the concentration of solutes dissolved in the blood. An isotonic solution is considered to be 0.9% salt. You can add 9 grams sodium chloride dissolved in one liter of sterilized water for an isotonic solution. Nasal irrigation should not be attempted with tap water or distilled water. Sterility is essential for safety, and salt prevents the uncomfortable burning sensation associated with the use of non-isotonic solutions. Boiling the water should suffice to sterilize it. Although many people use isotonic solutions for general irrigation of the nasal mucosa, sometimes a hypertonic solution is necessary to remove mucoid secretions of long standing such as in chronic sinusitis. In these cases people often use a 5-percent saline solution, which is stronger than what I am advocating for general rinsing here.

How Neti pots are Used

Fill the neti pot with sterilized isotonic water. Lean over the sink and turn your head 45 degrees, so one nostril is above the other. Gently insert the tip of the pot into the upper nostril. Breathe through your mouth and raise the handle so the water enters the upper nostril and then drains from the lower nostril.

When the neti pot is empty, exhale through both nostrils to remove excess solution and mucus. Gently blow your nose.

Repeat with your other nostril.

Look for the next part of the Hay Fever Series. It will cover additional supportive lifestyle changes with a focus on dietary suggestions to decrease histamine and inflammation. Sign up for the email list or on blogger to get the next Hay Fever Series installments automatically.

The Other Hay Fever Blogs
Hay Fever, The What, How and Why - part I
Hay Fever, The What, How and Why - part II
Hay Fever and Diet 
Prevention with herbs
Treating The Acute Situation 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Herbal ABC's - The Foundation of Herbal Medicine

     Coming April 30th, 2018
A New Herb Book by Sharol Tilgner N.D. - 440 pages

We can’t pigeonhole Herbal ABCs in one camp of herbalism or another. It is equally a traditional herbal, a clinical herbal, a scientific herbal, and a general reference for the application of herbal medicines. It is structured chapter-wise on traditional herbal actions and applications, an arrangement most useful for actually using the plants. In each category, Tilgner has selected a handful of the most important “clinical pearl” remedies from her long practice. The chapters are punctuated with case studies, stories, and anecdotes from her clinical experience, and also with her intuitive insights. Most remarkable is Tilgner’s exploration of the scientific research into the fields of pathophysiology and plant constituent science. She takes the “scientific herbal” to an unprecedented new level in her exploration of specialized literature, presenting it with a high level of functional scientific literacy. I have literally been waiting for decades to see an herbal describing animal trials which then states “Of course we have to be careful about extrapolating animal research to human application . . .” and we see this and similar functionally literate interpretations as the norm in her presentations of scientific material. Like her Herbal Medicine, which is three books-in-one (materia medica, formulary, and medicine making handbook) this book contains elements of books on four different topics, each done in depth, but synthesized into a single reference book.  It is a pathophysiology book, exploring in-depth topics such as liver detoxification, cytokines, or lymphoid tissue, for each of its major sections, and taking the most contemporary science into account. In this regard it offers material in a depth that is not available in other contemporary herbal books. It goes in similar depth into the science on constituent categories such as demulcents, tannins, immunomodulators, phytoestrogens, nootropics, and others. Blended into this is a textbook on the science of nutrition and lifestyle. We don’t just learn the liver detoxification pathways and how plants may affect them, but we also see the nutrients necessary for their proper function. We see how stress, sleep debt, and other factors affect the physiology.  And finally as its title implies, it is a reference book on herbal materia medica, covering the chief clinical actions of more than 245 herbs, with more than 100 of these featured for more in-depth coverage.
Ultimately, I see Herbal ABCs The Foundation of Herbal Medicine, as a new kind of Herbal for the 21st Century.  In North America since the 1980s, we have evolved a community of elder herbalists,  who, like Sharol Tilgner, have acquired a multifaceted mastery over decades of applied work in the different skill sets of herbalism: clinical practice, medicine making, reading of science, or study of older medical texts or systems. Herbal ABCs is perhaps the first fruit of this new and multifaceted and integrated mastery in North American herbalism. The book will be equally valuable for students of the younger generation, as for those already continuing to practice, study, and learn in our field.

Paul Bergner
North American Institute of Medical Herbalism
October 2017

You will find more details and can order this book direct from the publisher on April 20th, 2018 at the Herbaltransitions website. If you wish to pre-order the book, go to the Amazon link below. There is also a free give-away of books in exchange for a review on Amazon. You can find the give-away on our facebook page. See the link on the right side of this page.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Errors, Lack of Physical Exams and Deaths Due to Doctor

In the USA medical errors are known to cause over 100,000 deaths per year. This is the amount known and admitted to. Some of the reasons for this has been indicated to be a lack of organization, the lack of medical disclosure required by institutions and practitioners, as well as cognitive diagnostic errors.

Recently I was reading a medical review article on the demise of the physical exam and the errors due to a lack of using physical exams or errors in interpreting the exam or errors in decision based on a poor exam. This data was based on a survey that  was given to physicians  to get an idea of how the present day lack of time spent physically looking at patients is taking its toll on the patient. I post some of their findings here to give you some insight into how important it is for practitioners to spend time physically looking at their patients and how often this is not done. You can see the survey results here.

Note that the manner in which this was reported gives percents here that will not always add up to 100% as this data comes from a questionnaire and they list the percent for each question separately.

The article said only 18% of on-duty time was spent in direct patient care in hospitals by Docs. They specifically found that internal medicine interns spend 12% of their time with patients and 40% of their time was spent on the computer. This review article wanted to know what kind of errors took place when so little time is now being spent with patients and specifically the decreased time spent on physical exams.

It was found that in 63% of the cases where there were errors, most errors were due to not performing a physical exam at all.  An additional 14% of patients did have an exam and it was a correct exam but the practitioner interpreted the exam results incorrectly. 11% of the cases did not note an important sign or forgot to look for an important sign. The additional 12% of cases where there were errors were for unknown reasons.

In the cases examined 76% had incorrect diagnoses, 18% of patients received unnecessary treatment, 42% of the patients had either no treatment or delayed treatment, 25%  had costs that should not have incurred due to the improper treatment, 17% had exposure to radiation or contrast dyes that should not have taken place and 4% had complications due to improper treatment.

The electronic records have drop down boxes that has added to the confusion of whether an exam has been performed or not. By the way, the new mandate by our government that all Docs who are part of the insurance system have to use their new computerized software has created it's own set of issues. 

In my opinion, the requirement for practitioners to take notes on the computer and put every test, every bit of data on the computer is an issue and a time consuming regulation that takes attention away from the patient. Additionally, we need to look at the fact that many of the practitioners who were drawn to being a Doc for the interaction between them and the patient, as well as their love to help people have now left medicine for some other job or retired. Medicine has been taken over by the government and insurance companies and their long list of rules and regulations that have nothing to do with health care. It is no longer a satisfying job for many of the people who were originally drawn to the medical profession. They have either retired early, found a new career or started a private practice where they do not take insurance. The U.S.A. has a real issue with a lack of Docs at this point and many of the empty positions are being filled by people who want to immigrate into the U.S.A. that have a diploma in medicine. This creates a situation where the people from other countries wanting to immigrate, know they can get into the U.S.A. by becoming a nurse, a physician or any other medical profession that is lacking in the U.S.A I am sure you can see how this could create an issue. Luckily some of them actually like caring for people. However, for some it is just a means to an end. The end result of what has taken place in medicine though is that many patients no longer have a health advocate as their practitioner. They have someone taking care of their health care who is obligated to rules and regulations made by big-government and insurance companies. They have to dance to their tune or they do not have a job.

From my point of view, if we want good health care, we have to go outside of the current governmental/insurance controlled system and go to a private provider who does not take insurance.  Watch out though, as in the future even that choice may be taken away from you. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Bitter Herbs in the Spring

In the late winter or early spring, it is traditional to use stimulating bitters. What exactly are bitters and why do people eat them?

Bitter Herbs Are Good For Your Health

The word “bitters” is used to describe herbs that are bitter to the taste.  We all know what a bitter food tastes like. Besides indicating the taste of the herb, bitters also indicate a group of herbs that are stimulating and supportive to the gastrointestinal tract.

Bitters Are Good For Your Digestion

This category of herbs are useful as more than a simple spring tonic. Bitters have a supportive effect upon the digestion; they increase the tone of the gastric mucosa and enhance the digestive organ’s blood supply, which facilitates overall digestion.  Bitter plant constituents start their work by locally stimulating the bitter sensory response of taste buds in the mouth and throat.  Bitters also increase digestive secretions from the stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder.  

When Bitters Are Used

Bitters are indicated for sluggish or improper digestion when there are indications of poor digestive activity or enzymatic activity. This would include undigested food in the stool, gastrointestinal pain not due to more serious conditions, spasms, belching, and gas. Bitters are used to stimulate appetite,  to relieve constipation, gas, heartburn, and nausea. They are also helpful in gastroparesis, for anorexics, people not producing enough hydrochloric acid (HCL), or people needing their general digestion stimulated. Often the elderly benefit from bitters.

Four Specific Things Bitters Do

• Stimulate the natural self-protecting and healing mechanisms of the gut wall.

• Bitters increase the excitability of the sympathetic nervous system. Gentian, and wormwood have been shown to elicit cephalic responses via the sympathetic system, increasing peripheral vascular resistance. This shunts blood from the periphery to the internal organs of digestion.

• Wormwood has been shown to increase levels of pancreatic enzymes. Other bitters are thought to do the same.

• Bitters stimulate the activity of the liver and the gallbladder.

How They Are Used

The best effects are seen with long-term use of bitters. They are usually ingested before meals in small amounts. 

For More Information on Bitters

For an in-depth look at bitters, check out the "Digestive System" chapter in my new book called "Herbal ABC's - The Foundation of Herbal Medicine". There is a give-away of this new book taking place on my Facebook page. All I ask is that you take the time to give an honest review of it on See the link to the Facebook page on the right column of this blog.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Shootings, Violence, and Young People - One Causative Factor & Solutions

The Issue
Shootings/violence by young people often have commonalities that never get proper attention. People use these terrible situations to further their political causes rather than trying to get to the causative factors of the violence. For this reason, when one of the causative factors of these shootings is brought up, it usually gets swept under the rug. So, I decided to take a closer look at one of the common factors that I think is key. Something many of these young people have in common is that they are on a medication for depression. Usually that medication is an SSRI. Could it be the drugs that tip them over the brink?  I realize that these drugs are a symptom of even a deeper issue, which I will dig into at a later date, but currently I want to point out that this seems to be a common factor.

SSRI's as a Correlative Factor
SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs block the reabsorption or reuptake of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter (nervous system chemical) that is used by brain cells to communicate. As SSRIs mainly affect the levels of serotonin and not levels of other neurotransmitters, they are referred to as “selective.”

Serotonin influences many cognitive functions including mood, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and decision-making. Disorders in serotonin are linked to such clinical issues as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

SSRIs are thought by mainstream practitioners to be very effective and to have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. However, I would disagree with this well accepted idea by the industrial medical model. First they are not much more effective than placebos. Second, Dr. Paul Andrews pointed out in 2015 that the role of serotonin in depression and use as an antidepressant has not been elucidated. He completely negates the idea that serotonin is lowered in the population of depressed people and you can find his research article here. Besides the fact that low serotonin may or may not be the issue, I think there is enough evidence to show that SSRIs may be involved in additional violence including suicide and murders.

The following antidepressants are included in the SSRI category.
Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine (Luvox) Fluvoxamine CR (Luvox CR), Paroxetine (Paxil), Paroxetine CR (Paxil CR), Sertraline (Zoloft).

Support For The Idea That SSRI's Are Linked to Increased Violence
I first searched the internet for any data I could find in the incident of shootings linked to SSRIs. I knew that I had heard over and over again that these young shooters were on an antidepressant. The question was how many of them were related to SSRIs and were they all SSRIs? I found many links to supportive data. This is just a drop in the bucket.
This link has a list of 66 school violence incidents being related to SSRIs.
This link has a list of various stories on school shootings/violence and includes data on the antidepressants, usually SSRIs.
Another list similar to the first one is at this link.

In a 2016 meta-analysis of scientific research the reviewers found "Treatment of adult healthy volunteers with antidepressants doubled their risk of harms related to suicidality and violence."

A 2015 study examined SSRI effects related to age. They concluded " With age and sex stratification, there was a significant association between SSRIs and violent crime convictions for males aged 15 to 24 y (HR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.13-1.73, p = 0.002) and females aged 15 to 24 y (HR = 1.75, 95% CI 1.08-2.84, p = 0.023). "

There appears to be a correlation between the SSRI drugs these young people are taking and the violence that ensues. However, correlation does not always mean causation and this is what supporters of these drugs attempt to point out.

Who are the companies or individuals who take our attention away from this correlation? They would be drug companies and people with private agendas. Please do not let them take your focus off of the issue of these SSRIs and move it to guns. If you have an issue with guns, and turn your own attention onto the guns, please look a little deeper at the person using the gun and what is driving them to use it in this way.

More on SSRIs
So, it is obvious there is a correlation of SSRIs and violence if you look at the studies. A number of studies have indicated that SSRIs may have different effects in the young compared to adults. There has been a consistent indication in research that children and adolescents treated with SSRIs may experience higher rates of suicidal ideation. There are also clinical trials that suggest an association between SSRIs and an increased risk of violence in children and young adults.

Young people still have developing brains. None of the antidepressants were tested on children, but they are used on them. In animal research with antidepressants used in early development, the animals showed increased depression and anxiety in later life.

We do know that low serotonin levels appear to be linked to aggression. Especially the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. Research has found long-term use of SSRis can reduce the levels of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. There is even a possibility that these young people treated with SSRIs are having violent episodes when they have dips in their serotonin due to the SSRI having a short half-life. So, it may have something to do with enhancing the amount of serotonin and then getting sudden dips due to the difference in the adolescent brain, increased metabolism of the drug in young people and a shorter half-life of the drug. However, there are other methods that can be used to support serotonin rather than using SSRIs. These should also be examined as possible safer choices.

I would also point out another possibility is that a lack of sulfation of serotonin may be the issue for increased anxiety and aggression seen in these young people, rather than a lack of enough serotonin. Mice engineered with a knockout gene for 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (MST) exhibited increased anxiety along with elevated levels of serotonin in the brain. (Nagahara N, et. al., 1986.) MST can produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which can subsequently be oxidized to sulfate, so it probably plays an important role in the production of serotonin sulfate and therefore in serotonin transport. Its deficiency would be predicted to result in an accumulation of unsulfated serotonin. This also suggests that it is a deficiency in serotonin sulfate rather than a deficiency in serotonin that leads to anxiety, and this could explain contradictory research results seen on the relationship between serotonin and anxiety. (Morley, Seneff, 2024)

In a recent Swedish sudy of 850,000 individiduals, they found SSRI use was linked to 43% increased risk of violent crimes in 15 -24 year old young people.  This association was not found to be significant in older individuals.

Among individuals 15 to 24 years old, there were significant associations between SSRI use and arrests for violent crimes with preliminary investigations (HR, 1.28; P <.001), nonviolent crime convictions (HR, 1.22; P <.001), nonviolent crime arrests (HR, 1.13; P <.001), nonfatal injuries from accidents (HR, 1.29; P <.001), and emergency inpatient or outpatient treatment for alcohol intoxication or misuse (HR, 1.98; P <.001). The researchers also found that the association between violent crime and SSRIs remained significant among individuals 15 to 24 years old after analyzing the results with regard to gender (among boys and young men: HR, 1.40; P =.002; among girls and young women: HR, 1.75; P =.023). The researchers pointed out that there were other things going on in the lives of these people that could be confounding the data. However, I believe with the current research and the fact that many violent crimes by young people are associated with SSRIs, this should give us cause to take a closer look at these drugs and consider reevaluating their use or how they are used. At the same time we should examine the reason for depression in our society at large. Depression is an emotional response to complex problems and those issues are not solved with a drug.

Suggestions For Therapists and the Medical Establishment to Consider For Diagnosed Depression

  Cognitive Therapy or some other type of  "Talk Therapy" Both cognitive therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy have proven to be as effective as medications in treating major depression. A book that you can suggest to patients is "Feeling Good" by David Burns.

• Examine genetic predispositions towards depression and use nutrigenomics to make changes. Serotonin is not the only neurotransmitter and there may be predispositions to instability of various neurotransmitters.

  Sleep must be considered: Low serotonin if it exists leads to low melatonin and sleep issues. Melatonin can be used for sleep. Doing this also helps save the serotonin to be used for other things. However, additionally L-tryptophan or 5-HTP can be used as precursors to making serotonin and then melatonin.  L-tryptophan is used to make 5-HTP and then 5-HTP is used to make serotonin and serotonin is used to make Melatonin. For more details on natural methods to support melatonin levels go to this link.

• Exercise is helpful. It has been shown to be as beneficial as Zoloft in Duke University Medical Center trials.

• Eat high nutrient, organic foods.

• Supplements to support normal serotonin levels, happiness and a good functioning brain include Vitamin D: Vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. (Vitamin D levels should be measured before supplementing.)

• Omega-3-fatty acids: One type of fatty acid called ecosapentanoic acid, facilitates serotonin release from brain cells into synapses by reducing E2 series prostaglandins. These inflammatory prostaglandins can negatively impact the serotonin in the brain cells and block the release of serotonin into the synapses between the brain cells. The omega-3-fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid influences serotonin receptors by increasing cell membrane fluidity in postsynaptic neurons, which makes the receptors more accessible.

• There are also herbs such as adaptogens, nootropics, and general nervines that may help these individuals. They should also have their biotransformation/detox system supported as needed and any other support specific to the individual. There is a lot that naturopathic medicine/functional medicine can offer these individuals.

For future discussion:
This is one area we need to focus our attention but there are others. You cannot solve a problem without finding out what the causes of that problem are. Otherwise you are simply attending to symptoms and will never eradicate the causal issue.  Ultimately, we need to dig deep and get to the cause of why we have an epidemic of depression and kids who do not value their life or the lives of others. Not just in young people, but in all citizens. 

I realize there are problems with programs at schools called "restorative programs" and "promise programs" which lead to schools not turning kids into the police for violent acts. This program is why Nikolas Cruz (most recent shooter in Florida) was not turned into the local police when he should have been for numerous previous violations. This would have put his name on a government list and kept him from being able to get guns when a gun-check was undertaken. 

I also realize there are problems with kids spending so much time on Facebook, watching TV, texting, playing videos and being in chat groups. They lack the real one-on-one socialization and replace it with a digital world. Face-to-face socialization is important to learn the real value of having friends, connecting and having a communication that leads to a real conversation and learning to value other human beings. 

Herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, sugar, food additives and hormones in the standard American diet do not build healthy bodies or minds. Add in a dash of alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs and things really get complicated.

I would add that many kids do not get out into nature enough or ever. This is important as  it is a way for them to connect with something that moves their soul. Even a kid that has trouble socializing can connect with nature in a way that can significantly touch their life. Taking kids to farms or the woods can allow them to connect in a "real" way if they have trouble connecting with other kids. It can be a step to connecting with other humans in a more meaningful way.

I think I will stop here as I don't want to simply list all the societal problems young people face these days. They are coming into a world that could use some improvement and I know the place I start with all improvements is usually with myself. So, perhaps I need to help a young person to live a more meaningful life this week.