Archive for June, 2017

The Future Is Here For Small Businesses in Asia

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To get ahead in life, it’s either you get lucky with business or in the lottery. You won’t get rich by just working a regular 9-5 job and we all know that by now. Competition in the workplace is tough and you can work for decades without getting the recognition you deserve. It’s the exact opposite of being an entrepreneur. In the business world, you reap what you sow. There are a lot of variables, though, but the bottom line is that you have the choice to keep moving forward or not.

As an entrepreneur, you will take full responsibility for the decisions you make that pertains to your business. It’s that simple. No more passing on the blame to other people but be prepared to reap the rewards of your hard work too.

With continued globalization and rapid technological advancements, always be on the lookout for opportunities and grab them as soon as you can. Even traditional businesses can’t continue to resist change when the portal used by all now is the Internet. That’s where everybody is – your customers. Countries like America and Europe may be first world nations but many Asian countries continue to enjoy upward growth as well despite the many issues with the global economy and lingering threats of war.

GoDaddy, an internet domain registrar and web hosting company, is casting its eyes outside the U.S. as it targets half a billion small businesses worldwide in its global expansion.

“Our mission is to help individuals take all ideas from inception all the way through to reality,” said GoDaddy’s chief product officer, Steven Aldrich.

Asia will be a key area for its expansion, he told CNBC on the sidelines of the InnovFest Unbound 2017 conference.

In Singapore on Wednesday, the company launched its next generation website builder which allows users to build, publish and edit a website on their mobile devices.

“You can do everything on your mobile phone. There is not a feature that is on the next generation website that you need to go to your desktop for,” he said.

The product is localized for different markets.

Adrich did not say if the website domain name provider was looking to acquire companies in Asia but said the region is important for the company that is committed to working with small businesses.


There is a big market waiting to be discovered in Asia. While there may be some limitations on countries like China, you can always find a way to make things work if you dream just big enough. However, that does not disregard the fact that poverty is a major issue in most Asian countries that should likewise be taken into consideration when putting up a small business of your own.

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak said in his speech that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has “achieved a critical mass” to further spur its growth trajectory, with the combined economy growing 28 times to $2.57 trillion in past four decades to become the sixth-largest economy in the world currently.

But he warned that uneven growth that could cause instability, promote extremism and raise trade barriers that limit the flow of goods across borders.

“Our economies are growing faster than most of the rest of the world, and it is expected that by 2050 that the ASEAN economy will amount to over $9.2 trillion, making it the fourth largest in the world… there are other predictions that are even more optimistic, suggesting ASEAN could reach the number four position by 2030 — a mere 13 years from now,” Mr. Razak told his audience of regional business and political leaders in his keynote address during the forum organised by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and held in conjunction with the 30thASEAN Summit that culminates on Saturday.

“These are big numbers and impressive positions. But we have yet to achieve them,” he noted.

“The big challenge is to ensure that the integration of our individual economies — that is necessary for ASEAN itself to become a significant world market — is driven through. On that, we still have a long way to go.”


Small businesses drive growth and innovation in a lot of Asian countries and are big contributors when it comes to economic growth. Many Asian governments aspire to grow their economy because only then will they be able to distribute the nation’s wealth and support their citizen’s prosperity. Wealth can only be shared to all people of the land with economic success. And at the rate that businesses are sprouting all over Asia, it is no wonder that major key players in the international business arena are actively considering and pursuing business in Asia as well.

You can explore Asia by flying with Technically a US territory, Guam is just a stone throw away from most Asian nations, so you’d feel at home touring the continent by flying with them.  The world is getting smaller by the minute and whether you are in the US or somewhere in Asia does not matter because everyone will still mind their own business as they pursue their interests in life. What’s important is that you take all the necessary precautions and take calculated risks when dealing with setting up a small business of your own because you don’t want your money to go down the drain just like that because you failed to anticipate problems and solutions for them before it is too late.

Budget Cuts: Health Care Will Suffer In Case Of Outbreaks

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Health care is a basic service that the government should provide to its citizens. Healthy citizens can function productively and help in improving the economy. The people are also less likely to succumb to diseases in case of outbreaks because their immune system can fight off the infection with ease.

But over the years, health case costs are continually on the rise. Medicines, vaccines, and doctor checkups are becoming more expensive than ever. The big pharmaceutical companies continue to thrive as the health care system suffers from more budget cuts. Even health insurance has far less coverage but is more expensive than before.

Now, what happens when disaster strikes, like an outbreak perhaps? Are the government and the various health institutions prepared for such a scenario? Will they be able to control it and prevent further cross contamination or will we witness a bloody end? It is a scary reality as bioterrorism remains to be a threat from enemies of the state. American citizens can also get infected during travels in affected areas throughout the globe.

Is the world ready to defend against the next big infectious disease outbreak? It’s one of the biggest threats humanity could face. But experts who have reviewed reports on the global response to the massive Ebola outbreak that swept through West African countries for two years starting in 2014 say we’re “grossly underprepared” to handle a similar health crisis. 

A team headed by Dr. Suerie Moon, director of research at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, published their findings from a review of seven major post-Ebola reports in the medical journal The BMJ at the end of January. The team concluded that, while progress has clearly been made by the world’s governments and the World Health Organization (WHO), for instance, there are gaps that could still leave millions of people at risk.


In the event such an outbreak hits the U.S., will there be a large casualty? The answer is likely yes if the health care system does not receive the support and funding it needs from the government.

President Donald Trump is proposing big cuts to biomedical research as part of a budget to reduce discretionary spending at the Department of Health and Human Services by 23 percent — a move likely to provoke outcry from lawmakers, research groups, drugmakers and patients.

The proposal would cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health — which conduct and fund medical research — by $5.8 billion, or about 18 percent from 2017 levels. The Office of Management and Budget called the change “a major reorganization of NIH’s institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.”


And the country’s population is also at risk of getting sick from the more common and widespread infections and diseases we have faced over the last few years.

A multibillion dollar federal fund that helps prevent disease outbreaks and fights chronic conditions may disappear with a Republican plan to revamp the Affordable Care Act, worrying local physicians and county officials who say they rely on the money to sustain community health.

The GOP legislation, as it was released Monday, proposes cutting a piece of the Affordable Care Act called the Prevention and Public Health Fund – a store of federal money created to bolster immunization rates, disease surveillance, workforce training and community health education, among other programs. If the replacement legislation passes, county and state agencies throughout California will lose millions of dollars they relied on for public health efforts. Those governments also used the grants to prepare for emergencies such as Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, health officials said.


Even medical professionals are worried about the long-term consequences of these drastic measures to the poorer citizens of the country who relies on the government for support.

Chapman said county health departments use the fund for much more than education. The fund has provided more than $28 million in vaccine supplies to the California Department of Public Health, which county health departments rely on to immunize children and adults, Chapman said. Without free vaccines available, low-income families may vaccinate at lower rates, increasing the likelihood that once-common diseases such as measles and polio will return.

The fund also supports laboratory capacity at the state and local levels so health departments can more rapidly diagnose infectious diseases and quarantine people to prevent their spread. Testing capacity was an issue during both the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the Zika virus outbreak last summer.

The proposed cut to the fund alarmed state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician who called it a short-sighted move that could harm state and local efforts to respond to potential outbreaks.

“When you erode our public health infrastructure, it’s going to curb our ability to respond effectively and quickly to health and safety,” he said. “It’s all about prevention. We need the capacity to track down and fight contagious diseases. When we don’t, people get sick and die.”


It is too early to tell the effects of these policies being enforced by President Trump and the Congress. The health care system affects every single person in the country. People’s lives will be affected once the system can no longer provide the services they need because they do not have the money to fund it.

No More Budget For Quality Education

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For most parents who aren’t wealthy enough, a good education is the only gift they can give their children to help them get ahead in life. With quality education comes better opportunities to succeed in life. It is why many will do their best to get a college degree despite the odds because most good companies won’t just hire anyone who isn’t qualified for the job.

The problem is that a good education does not come cheap. Aside from the hefty tuition fees, you also have to pay for other miscellaneous expenses that can accumulate over time. While you can go to school for free in public schools, parents who only want the best for their kids often opt to send them to private schools instead. And these days, going to public school may just be as costly as private schools without sufficient federal funding. Yes, it’s a big possibility looming on the horizon now and it is making many parents and students across the country worried sick.

U.S. Education secretary Betsy DeVos found herself on the hot seat again this week, testifying before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, defending President Donald Trump’s 2018 education budget.

President Trump proposed a $59 billion federal education budget, cutting more than $9 billion, or 13 percent, from current levels.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., chairs the committee and opened by telling DeVos, “This is a difficult budget request to defend,” and saying the proposal likely will not be adopted as is.

This was DeVos’ second time defending President Donald Trump’s 2018 education budget, having been grilled at a House appropriations committee hearing on May 24.


K12 education will suffer the most with a 13% budget cut estimated at $60 million but the entire education system will get hit by these budget cuts. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has a hard time defending why the need for all these budget cuts that will also affect federal funding for teacher support. If Trump wishes to push for these budget cuts, will he really be able to make America great again at the expense of many of his constituents? Even the “Forgiveness Program” will cease to exist, a program that urges graduates to work in the government so their student debt will be paid off after rendering ten years in service.

Just the numbers tell a surprising story: Program cuts totaling $9 billion from the Education Department’s $68 billion budget and $1.4 billion for school choice, including new money for states that embrace vouchers. Families could use the vouchers to offset tuition at private schools.

The budget proposal would eliminate more than 20 education programs that benefit children from low-income families and those with disabilities. The proposed cuts include an after-school program that serves mostly low-income students, would take money away from career and technical education, cut Special Olympics education programs and a number of other programs. Many of these make up a small part of Washington’s education budget.

But the real danger in the Trump administration’s education budget is that it shows where President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would like tax dollars increasingly to go in the future — toward private schools, including religious institutions. The Washington state Constitution specifically prohibits state dollars going to religious schools, so Washington could not benefit from this program even if the citizens thought it was a good idea, which it is not


For those against this budget cut, they see this move as a way to promote for education privatization and the initial steps to entirely abandoning public education for good. It is a big problem for low-income families who can barely make both ends meet but still try their best to put their children to school. Even with the help of vouchers and support from the local government, they would still have a hard time doing so. These policies question the existence of public education in the first place. If Trump gets his way, he’d make people work hard for everything they get from the government even if it means sacrificing the quality of education young Americans gets.

Corruption Is The Leech That Kills Societies

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Greed is so powerful it can make people forget about their sense of humanity more often than not. Many times we only think of ourselves, which is actually not a bad thing but problems arise once you start trampling on the rights of others as you protect your own. And corruption is a fine example of how greed gets the best of a person. You don’t have to go far to see corruption at work. Just look at the government and see public officials from the lowest to the highest position making the most of their positions for their benefit and not of the people.

It is a sad reality that governments in most societies are riddled with corruption and it affects the delivery of basic services. The people suffer the most when their government leaders only preoccupy themselves on getting rich and not in really extending public service to the people who need help the most. Conflict and political unrest are not uncommon in such societies because people won’t just keep their mouths shut when they see their leaders not doing their job right.

The mother was reportedly told that the surgery was necessary and that it would be “a walk in the park.” However, her daughter sadly died due to surgery complications.

It was revealed that the hospital has financial incentives for performing certain types of surgeries – like open-heart surgery on children – so they push for the operations despite being told by experts that the surgeries are not in the best interest of the patients.

“I just watched this video from Represent.Us,” Jennifer wrote. “It’s incredible and horrifying. And it got me thinking: corruption affects all of us, but so many people don’t recognize it. We need to tell each other our stories. We need to show that everyone – our neighbors, our families, our community leaders – everyone we know is touched by corruption. I want to hear your story. How does corruption affect you? #WeDemandBetter Represent.Us/WDB.”


These corrupt government officials often ignore the needs of their people just to make more money from the people’s taxes and improve their personal lives. Some do it discreetly while others are so blatant in stealing money from the people.

Corruption eradication programmes need crusaders. A media organisation has the set-up and platform to do that.

People matter in fighting corruption. People Power is critical.

Nothing excites people more than news of high-profile individuals being investigated or charged for alleged corrupt practices. But screaming headlines won’t last.

Hauling them to court is one thing but for every suspect charged, there are many more who get away with murder, so to speak.

The law is not perfect. The system has loopholes.

It is not easy to prove one is corrupt. Many get away scot-free and live happily ever after with their ill-gotten gains.

That is why understanding the scourge is important for people. Creating awareness is key.

Corruption is not to be tolerated. The late Prof Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote many books and essays on corruption, likened corruption to a disease than can sweep through a society like a tidal wave, leaving in its wake “a trail of negligence, lethargy, inefficiency and callous regard of man’s inhumanity to man”.

According to him, corruption is “victimising innocent people”.


The money these corrupt leaders steal can make a big difference to the lives of their constituents and the future of their country. Progressive nations make it a point to take care of their people but you’ll see millions of people living in poverty in countries ruled by corrupt leaders. They live in makeshift shanties on the side of the road, under the bridge, or any vacant lots where they can find shelter for a short while or for the long term. They aren’t protected from the elements and they often live for days without eating. If the government’s resources are used properly, they shouldn’t worry about food and shelter at the very least.

Fortunately, it has become easier now to speak up against corruption and even public shame corrupt officials with the help of social media. One powerful post can touch people’s emotions and make your post go viral in an instant. While we often don’t have that much power to oust a public official from public office, raising awareness about their crimes can empower people and help them vote for the right person come next election. You’d seldom come across honorable leaders nowadays. Make sure to take voting seriously so that the right people are put into office and put a stop to corruption once and for all.

Foreigners Not Happy With The U.S. Travel Ban

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International relations have been on the edge ever since the U.S. announced its travel ban that mostly affects citizens from most Middle East countries. President Trump delivered his promise of taking the country’s safety and security seriously by limiting the numbers of foreigners living in America, especially the ones coming from nations with known terroristic activities – in short, Muslims.

The travel ban created such a buzz throughout the globe and people can’t help but voice out their own opinions. Overall, people are not happy and it is hurting U.S. international relations. Not only that, it also has a negative effect on a lot of U.S. tourism.

Foreign tourism to the United States, which supports millions of American jobs, is slowing, possibly because President Donald Trump sought controversial travel restrictions on visitors from some Muslim majority nations. Online searches for flights to the United States are down in most major nations, but not just those hit by restrictions.

The travel restrictions sparked demonstrations, critical press coverage and a flurry of lawsuits. A petition drive gathered thousands of signatures in support of British citizen and mathematics teacher Juhel Miah, who was removed from a U.S.-bound plane as he was escorting British students on a school trip to America.

And truth be told, the damage has been done no matter how noble Trump’s intention may be and its aftermath can be felt over the years to come.

Pace University Professor Andrew Coggins, who researches travel issues, said the Trump administration’s push to restrict immigration is making some foreign tourists and students wary of visiting out of concern they might face bigotry and prejudice. He said such worries mean New York City alone will see hundreds of thousands fewer visitors and lose millions of dollars in revenue. Professor Coggins said efforts to revise the restrictions are pointless.

“The damage has been done. I think the resentment is there. It has been generated and it is not going to go away that fast,” he said.


The first travel ban may have been blocked in court but it will not stop President Trump from realizing his goals.

After the first travel ban was blocked in court, President Trump signed a new executive order last week temporarily blocking travel to the U.S. from countries he said pose a high terrorism risk. The new order bars travel to the U.S. for 90 days from six predominantly Muslim countries — Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The new list excludes Iraq, which was included on the original list of countries announced in January.


While the new administration is determined to prevent the access of foreigners from high-risk countries into the U.S., the threat is also palpable among citizens of the said banned nations who are already living in the United States. They may end up deported back home. Some of them seek refuge in the neighboring country of Canada while tension is still high in America.

Refugees in fear of detainment and deportation are fleeing the US across its northern border with Canada at an increased rate even as courts block the Trump administration’s travel ban, according to refugee support groups and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Mukhtar Idhow, executive director of the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS), a New Hampshire-based group that assists asylum seekers find work and teaches them gardening, told Al Jazeera that the Trump administration’s two attempts to place a ban on Muslims from entering the US have left the refugee community questioning their place in the country.

“The US was once a place of opportunity for immigrants and refugees where all races, religions and nationalities were accepted,” Idhow, himself a refugee from Somalia, continued. “Now, we aren’t sure what will happen.”


It is hard to tell what the next few years in America will be like under the Trump administration. It is very likely that bridges will be burned and more tension will be felt both in and out of the country.

But for now, maybe we should give the new president a chance. He only wants the best for our country and our people. If only he is guided on how to become a good president at the least to spare us from all these worries, it will definitely be appreciated by all. President Trump should always remember that he is now the leader of a powerful nation and everything he says or does will reflect America in general.

Blogging In The New Millenium

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The new millennium opened up a plethora of opportunities to everyone who is gutsy and talented enough to get out of their comfort zones and embrace all the changes in this world. You are no longer restricted to having traditional 9-5 jobs. Now, the possibility of working from home is normal and you can earn as much as those with managerial positions in traditional businesses. What’s more, some of these home-based jobs can be done whenever you want as long as you get the job done.

Aside from more technical positions that are very much in demand on the web, blogging has also evolved from being a past time to a real paying job. Social media and WordPress are platforms that enabled ordinary people to share their story to the world and earn money from it. Those who are gifted with words can turn this into a profitable hobby. Your new mantra in life now is “do something you love and you won’t work a single day in your life”.

When Erin Schrader first launched her blog in 2011, she only meant to share it with a few close friends and family members.     

Six years later, that blog has more than 150,000 fans on Facebook and strangers have even recognized Schrader in hotel lobbies when she travels to conferences.

Schrader, who lives in east Elkhart, Indiana, along the Upper St. Joseph River with her husband of more than 10 years, never would have imagined that what started as a part-time hobby would turn into a full-time career. But last month — almost exactly six years after her first blog post — she took a leap of faith and quit her office job.

Now Schrader is pouring all of her energy — or what is left after spending time with her husband and her friends — into her blog, Living in Yellow. The name was inspired by two of Schrader’s favorite things: sunshine and macaroni and cheese.

At first, Living in Yellow was an extension of the gratitude journal that Schrader wrote in every day. It was a way to be more mindful about the simple joys in the everyday and to remind herself of the multiple blessings in her life.

“It was initially going to be my private space to transition my gratitude journal to the internet, but then it wasn’t this secret anymore,” Schrader said. “I started to realize that there’s a community here, that I can connect with people online and talk with them.”


There is a lot of potential on the web especially if you are among the first to discover it. Even now when there are far too many online bloggers you can barely remember their names, there is still a chance for you to make money from the stories you write. You’re not just limited to traditional pen and paper format but photos and videos make your blog more appealing and increase your followers over time.

When blogging started, the first blogs were really glorified online journals, and in all likelihood, becoming a professional blogger and making money online wasn’t the goal. Since then, the blogosphere has evolved, and now people blog for many different reasons. There are even distinctions among types of blogs – business, lifestyle, fashion, food, and entertainment blogs, among others.

Among the benefits of blogging include:

Share Your Knowledge

If you’re someone who loves to teach, starting a blog can provide the opportunity to educate others interested in your field of expertise. The best part is that, as you build resources on your blog to teach others, you may realize there is a chance to monetize your blog by creating educational products or services online.

Refine Your Writing Skills

The more you write, the better you become at it. Most professional bloggers write on a regular basis and therefore analyze and proofread their writing constantly. You may even get feedback from readers to help you become a better writer.

Learn How To Make Money Online

Most people start out with one blog, but along the way, they gain experience and eventually generate ideas for blogs in other niches. What you learn from your initial blog – the dos and don’ts, marketing strategies that are effective, how to make money blogging, etc. – will help you accelerate the growth of future ventures.


Not only do blogs benefit the blogger themselves but even businesses that these blogs promote. Blogging is a great way to build your audience and followers, and of course, there is money where there are people, right? This is the new age version of advertising straight to the right market – the people who follow those blogs because the stories interest them.

Startups prefer online promotion over offline promotion because the former is cost-effective and yet often has shown definite results. Because blogging is the default window leading to online promotion, more and more brands are getting into it these days.

For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option tha other marketing alternatives. Blogging can aid in getting a high ranking on search engines and in gaining social media visibility?

At a fraction of the price, businesses can enjoy the same benefits of traditional advertising. Most people go online daily now, so you know you are doing the right thing when people start noticing your blog.

Blogging is an excellent way to get noticed by big players. There’s no dearth of platforms if drawing the attention of the big players is on your mind. Admins of third-party B2B blogs will be delighted to publish your posts, provided these posts are useful and offer new information. Then there are publishing platforms like Pulse. LinkedIn is where most of the VC guys are. And they hover over Pulse articles for new insights.


This is the new age. Conventional wisdom does not usually apply because innovation is the name of the game. Blogging is just like that. This former hobby is now racking up mileage for businesses and money for entrepreneurs. Bloggers, too, don’t go home empty-handed. Aside from monetizing the blog, you can also enjoy a steady stream of freebies from businesses who wants you to feature their products on your next blog. So, it’s a win-win situation for any blogger after all.

Mental Illness Can Put You At Higher Risk of Stroke

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The times are changing and many of us have a hard time coping with the demands of daily life. Social norms have also evolved, which has also affected gender roles. Depression is a rising health threat as the majority of the population feel that their efforts are not enough. We may all appear okay on the outside and post the good side of our days to social media but deep down we are hurting. The bad part about this is that many refuse to seek help even though it is obvious they are struggling on their own.

Stress is a major precipitating factor to many of today’s health conditions. From anxiety attacks to epilepsy to cancer, we can all blame stress for putting us at a higher risk than before. And more recently, the experts also discovered the relation between mental illness and a predisposition to having a stroke later in life.

Patients hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychiatric disorders may have an increased risk for stroke, particularly in the 15 days following their psychiatric diagnosis.

This is reported by research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2017.

Researchers analyzed the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database for California and found 52,068 stroke patients between 2007-2009.

Of these patients, 3,337 patients were hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for depression, anxiety, PTSD or another psychiatric disorder.

But why is that so? Why are we more predisposed to getting a stroke if we continually suffer from stress?

Psychological distress may send the body’s fight-or-flight response into overdrive, causing increased blood pressure — the No. 1 risk factor for stroke.

Psychologic distress may also cause changes within cells that trigger inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are thought to increase stroke risk.

Another possible explanation for the study findings, he said, is that when people experience psychological distress, they may forget to take medicines prescribed to reduce their risk of stroke.


What’s even more surprising is that a person suffering from mental illness is at the highest risk of suffering from a stroke within the next couple of weeks after getting hospitalized.

People who sought care at a hospital for serious mental health conditions — such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder — faced a tripled risk of stroke following their visit, the study authors contended.

The risk started to decrease after 30 days, but remained twice as high for at least a year after the ER visit or hospital stay, the researchers said.

“We have known for some time that people who have a stroke seem to be at an increased risk for later on developing some sort of psychiatric illness, depression or post-stroke psychosis,” said study lead author Jonah Zuflacht. He’s a fourth-year medical student at Columbia University‘s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

“But what has been less studied is the inverse of that. Meaning, if you have some sort of psychiatric illness, does it increase the risk for stroke?” he added.

“And what we found is that if you are hospitalized for some sort of mental illness, your risk of stroke is increased, and it’s most increased over the two-week period following your hospitalization,” Zuflacht said.


Health professionals say that even previous patients acknowledge the link between their stress levels and their stroke attack.

“Based on my clinical experience in the hospital, I have noticed that many patients believe that stress for whatever reason — work, family, work-life balance — contributed to their stroke,” said Jonah P. Zuflacht, B.A., lead researcher and a fourth-year medical student at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

“But the data to support a connection between stress and stroke is limited and often relies on a patient’s subjective recall of distress, which can bias results,” stated Zuflacht.

The takeaway is this:

Short-term stroke risk appears higher in patients hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for psychiatric illness.

Risk of stroke was greatest within 15 days of psychiatric diagnosis, declined with time, but persists for at least a year.

Healthcare professionals should listen carefully for signs of psychological distress in patients at risk of stroke.


The bottom line is that stress is a major factor in your mental health and the risk of having a stroke. Life may be tough for most of us but you can always adapt stress-busting practices for your own sanity. If you are clueless on how to relieve yourself of stress, a simple deep breathing exercise works wonder.

Do not let yourself get carried away with your worries. Problems are only temporary. Help is available in case you need one. It may not be in the form of an expensive visit with a shrink, a friend whom you can talk to and provide support when you need one is just as good.

Is Christianity Still Alive In America?

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People will move mountains for their faith. It has been evident over the centuries where nations go to war to protect their faith or to conquer other nations. Many countries still have that obsession over religion today, especially in the Muslim faith. Their faith and loyalty to their religion can go to extreme lengths – even give up their lives for their religious beliefs.

Meanwhile, religion is struggling in modern-day America. People still profess their faith – especially the Christians that make up the majority of the populace – but theirs lack the authenticity and the action that often goes hand in hand with true religion. In short, they say one thing but do something else. Now, with the political and the economic turmoil that the country faces, is religion still alive to save the Americans and keep everyone together until we all survive these dark times? Or perhaps, this growing nonchalance towards religion will finally open up the minds of conservative citizens to ease up and be more accepting of the LGBT community, for instance, among other sensitive issues we face.

Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent.

Some observers predicted that this new secularism would ease cultural conflict, as the country settled into a near-consensus on issues such as gay marriage. After Barack Obama took office, a Center for American Progress report declared that “demographic change,” led by secular, tolerant young people, was “undermining the culture wars.” In 2015, the conservative writer David Brooks, noting Americans’ growing detachment from religious institutions, urged social conservatives to “put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations.”

Perhaps, we can even attribute the surprising win of Donald Trump to the rising secularism in the country.

That was naive. Secularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it’s also making America’s partisan clashes more brutal. And it has contributed to the rise of both Donald Trump and the so-called alt-right movement, whose members see themselves as proponents of white nationalism. As Americans have left organized religion, they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between “us” and “them.” Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways.


And if you just look around you, religion is not just a religion anymore. It has evolved from being the very essence of faith and salvation, religion has gone mainstream it is so obvious that it is surprising we haven’t realized it ages ago. The separation of the church and the state allows them to enjoy many benefits – most of it involves tax breaks.

Our religious groups are a creative bunch. They have invaded our school boards and forced religion into our textbooks in states like Texas, and they have been finding numerous ways to fight for things like school prayer for decades. However, one way in which religious groups have been able to push their ideology on our children that often goes unnoticed is currently happening inside our charter schools.

In 2013, The New York Times ran a story about a Texas woman named Latisha Andrews. She had attempted to run a private school out of a church for some time but eventually lacked the funding necessary to continue. What did she do? She did what so many Americans have done in recent years; she asked Uncle Sam to foot the bill. As the story notes, there are many charter schools in Texas that operate inside churches. So much for the separation of church and state.


It also changed the way people view previous controversial issues like LGBT. The LGBT community is now widely accepted and only a handful of conservatives still oppose gay rights and relationships.

The irony of my message is not lost on me. As surprising as all of this will sound to fellow conservatives — and as cynical as all of this might sound to the LGBT community coming from me — it is time for those of us who cherish religious freedom to stop, yes stop, opposing gender equality. This is no trade-off, no compromise nor quid pro quo. Neither is it unilateral surrender. It is neutrality and it is wisdom.

Unfortunately, Carlston unwisely conflates the LDS Church and its members’ behavior. Nevertheless, we can save the spirit of her message. To effectively defend religious freedom, religion can choose (and should choose) to stop opposing gender equality. It should “render unto Caesar” and get out of public policy negotiations and litigation. Religion cannot with credibility commiserate with the LGBT community and then turn around and condemn private, sexual behavior over the pulpit. Though scheming lawyers and political operatives may disagree, religious institutions, for good reasons, should not engage in disingenuous political posturing with the LGBT community to protect religious freedom.

And it makes perfect sense too even to non-believers. We should stop condemning others because of their faith or the lack of it because it is not the basis of their character.

We cannot afford to keep doing what hasn’t worked and isn’t right. Religious freedom needs to be defended on its own merits, not on the backs of its perceived enemies. And, if on its own merits, it must be a reflection of its own virtues. Live your faith, love your enemy, and no viable grounds will rise to challenge individual religious freedom.


The answer lies in all of us. Do you see religion as something that truly reflects your spiritual beliefs or is it just a front that you can use as an excuse or as a savior when the times call for it? Americans are struggling to find this balance in our now-chaotic and technology driven world. There is conflict everywhere. Perhaps we should call for true religion and faith to help everyone navigate these dark times in unity and full of love for one another regardless of their chosen religions.