Tag Archives: harvard

4 Things Harvard Researchers Have to Say About Yoga


Yoga is a term that means different things to different people. For some people, yoga is an exercise – a way to strengthen and tone the body and improve flexibility and coordination. For other people, yoga is a spiritual discipline – a way of life that includes but is not limited to the physical postures. For still others, yoga represents a combination of these factors.

For Harvard researchers, however, yoga is increasingly showing itself to be a source of significant health benefits quantifiable through the latest cutting-edge research practices. In this article, learn about four important things Harvard researchers have discovered while studying yoga. Continue reading

Health Benefits of the “Mildly Overweight”: Can We Handle Subtlety in Scientific Reporting?

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.34.57 AMIf researchers discovered that, contrary to popular belief, carrying a few extra pounds might not actually be that bad for our health – that it could in fact be better for long-term health than being a size zero – would you want to know? Our guess is: Yes, absolutely.

Now imagine a doctor who has worked all his life to combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyles, who has tirelessly preached the dangers of excess weight throughout his career. You can understand that a new report such as this would deeply trouble him – that he might even take steps to prevent its dispersal to the general public.

This is not a theoretical tale from some overly dramatic medical soap opera. The report is real: A review of 97 independent studies, including nearly 3 million people, headed by Katherine Flegal, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics. Published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Flegal’s study revealed the surprising news that what is medically classified as “overweight” is actually associated to lower mortality rates than both obesity and normal weight.

This of course challenges basically everything we thought we knew about weight and health (apart from the consensus that obesity unhealthy.) And this is where Walter Willett, chair of the Harvard School of Public Health’s nutrition department, enters the picture. A highly quoted nutrition expert, Willett’s research focuses on diet and lifestyle habits (namely alcohol, red meat, birth control pills, and artificial sweeteners, among others) and their correlations with different forms of cancer. Willett is now the subject of considerable public scrutiny for expressing some less-than-professional opinions on Flegal’s report. In an interview with NPR, Willett commented, “This study is really a pile of rubbish, and no one should waste their time reading it.”

Unfortunately, dismissing such a comprehensive report as Flegal’s as “a pile of rubbish” might have been the worst move of Willett’s career. Science is, by definition, a critical and collaborative field. Its findings have power and influence in our society because we trust the scientific method; and we trust it because, presumably, the research is tested, challenged, and peer-reviewed. Willett’s comment reveals a fundamental disregard for this equilibrium, no matter how noble his intentions.

There is certainly something to be said for simplicity in scientific reporting. If the general public needs to hear that excess weight leads to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illness in order to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits, then maybe we can believe that’s all researchers are responsible for reporting. If, on the other hand, we trust that the general public is thoughtful and discerning enough to consider shades of grey and make informed lifestyle decisions, then it would be dangerously irresponsible for scientists to censor their findings. The obsession with weight in our culture has undermined the promotion of healthy body image, self-esteem, and eating habits, particularly among teenagers and women. If Flegal’s report could introduce a bit of breathing room, then it is worth the effort that may need to go into explaining and elaborating on those pesky shades of grey.

What do you think? Can we handle subtlety in scientific reporting? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Average Business Person Misses 60,000 Opportunities To Build Confidence Everyday

 Human beings have an average of 60,000 thoughts a day.  Every one of these thoughts is either confident and effective towards one’s goals, or takes them further away from that success.   From regularly surveying her audiences of thousands of businesspeople, speaker Sharon Melnick, PhD. found that most people report at best only 50-70% of their thoughts are confident and effective towards their goals. 
Thus, for the vast majority of people, at least 20,000-30,000 of their daily thoughts are worried, doubting, or negative.   
The bottom line – these thoughts create stress, interfere with performance in work, and cause unhappiness.  When considered on a scale of millions of people, this points to an enormous waste of human potential.  That’s energy and potential urgently needed to improve the way we do business, foster our health, or role model for children.  
“Each thought is like a command sent down from the captain of a ship to the crewmembers below the deck, says Dr. Melnick.  “And, each thought directs the muscles and cells of your body to act.”  If a person has low self confidence in their work, they won’t have the energy or persistence to succeed at learning new skills.  In their work relationships,  they might take things personally, get reactive, and lose their concentration.  In meetings they will not speak up with valuable ideas.
In contrast, a highly confident person would take the lead and find solutions to problems. They would ask for the fee or the promotion that will help them earn what they are worth.  The result is they will be more financially secure and they will model confidence better for their children.    
With over 10 years of research at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Melnick has developed techniques that give people fast and lasting confidence.  In fact, according to Dr. Melnick, “In the next hour after reading this, a person will have another 2,500 thoughts. With the right skills, they can make a few or hundreds of thoughts more confident – and that creates momentum and positive energy to be even more confident."



Britain’s Next Top Coach Award Winner Dr. Christian Pankhurst Launches Innovative Program To Inspire And Empower People

A pivot in feelings of positivity can just as simple as listening to those who teach it. I find time everyday to just that. For those not aware, Dr. Christian Pankhurst, D.C. is a coach, speaker, seminar leader and author. He is a leading expert in a variety of fields including intimacy building, addiction recovery, emotional awareness, male sexuality, couple dynamics, conflict resolution, stress management and heart-centered communication.
After working as a Chiropractor, Christian studied with some of the most well known leaders in the personal development industry and later founded the ‘Embracing Change Experience’ a powerful weekend event that has touched the lives of thousands of people around the world.
Today, Christian is a sought after teacher and travels extensively sharing his huge heart, clarity and wisdom.  In fact, he recently launched a brand new series of free introductory videos entitled “Removing the Resistance." 
These videos contain the essence of Christian’s unique and profound message and powerful tools that everyone can apply immediately in their lives to make positive changes. 
Through this powerful video series Dr. Pankhurst will teach you how to make the law of attraction work for you. He will give you answers to these relevant questions:  How to remove the resistance that holds you back in life? How to make changes in your life or business? How to change your emotional state instantly? You can learn more about Christian Pankhurst at  http://www.GetToKnowChristianPankhurst.com


Huffington Post – Ahmed Rehab: Racism or Not, Cambridge Police Owes Professor Gates an Apology




There are two conflicting accounts regarding the details of the arrest of celebrated Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in his own home by the Cambridge police department — that of the professor and that of the police.

The public reaction has also been equally split, some crying racial profiling others insisting that the officers only did their job and blaming Gates for having a chip on his shoulder and for “losing it.”


One thing seems clear to me, regardless of who is right and who is wrong, Professor Gates should never have been arrested — the police department owes him a public apology.

Professor Gates had just come home from a trip to China. He and his chauffeur had a hard time opening his home’s jammed front door. A passerby called 911 to report “two African-American men with backpacks” attempting a “forced entry.”

The Cambridge police department sent two police officers to the scene. So far, so good. If anything, the police is to be lauded for their quick response to the call which to their knowledge could have been an attempted break in and burglary.

By the time they arrived, Gates had managed to release the front door and was already inside his home.

This is where the conflicting accounts begin.

According to the police, Professor Gates greeted the cops with a “belligerent” attitude, refusing to show them identification when asked, and refusing to step outside when asked. He was angry, rude and offensive. He eventually showed them his Harvard ID and eventually stepped outside where he was arrested for disorderly conduct and taken to the Cambridge police station.

Professor Gates contends that while he was testy, he did show them two pieces of ID when asked: his Harvard ID and his driver’s license. He claims that the cops had it in for him, that he was a victim of racial profiling.


Now, Professor Gates happens to be no ordinary professor. He is not only one of the nation’s most respected and most decorated black professors, he is one of the nation’s most respected and most decorated professors period.

Gates who has been teaching at Harvard for 18 years is the recipient of nearly 50 honorary degrees and numerous awards including the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. In 1997, Gates was listed as one ofTime magazine’s “25 most Influential Americans.” (He even has a burger named after him at a local burger joint frequented by Harvard students and faculty.)

One thing is for sure, “belligerent” and “disorderly” do not seem like apt descriptors for someone who must have mastered the art of discipline and wisdom to have gone this far.

Testy? Perhaps. But is testy a crime in Cambridge, Massachusetts?

After all, who would not get a little testy after having just come off a 20 hour flight, greeted by a jammed front door, and then met by police officers in their own home who probably were not the epitome of polite discourse themselves. It seems to me highly unlikely that a man of Gates’ stature would get testy without being provoked. It is also unlikely he was ever a threat to the visiting officers.

And whether he identified himself immediately or after a verbal exchange, the undisputed fact is that he did identify himself and the officers were able to discern without question that Gates was indeed the resident of the house — not the potential burglar they had come for.

So why was he arrested still?

Whether racial profiling was at play or not is a matter up for debate.

It can reasonably be argued that had Gates been white, the officers would have likely responded with something like this: “professor, we are sorry for the inconvenience, we understand your frustration, but you should also understand that we are simply doing our job. Have a good day.”

And they would have left it at that.

But the fact that he was arrested despite having identified himself, hauled off in hand cuffs like a criminal where he was further questioned and his mug shots taken, smacks of retaliation by an ego-bruised officer — if not racial profiling.

While the charges have since been dropped, the arrest never should have happened.

Professor Gates is owed a public apology by the arresting officer and the Cambridge police department. Instead, a spokesperson for the police department has shown no remorse for the arrest, still insisting in a news conference yesterday that there was “probable cause” for the arrest.

Meanwhile, larger questions linger about what it means to be black in post-racial America, especially as it relates to law enforcement where the relationship between blacks and white police officers has historically been one of mutual suspicion.

For me, the Gates affair raises the following important question: while it is easy to come to the defense of a black man who happens to be a world class academician, how many less fortunate blacks get arrested on even more flimsy grounds but whose cases never make it through to public opinion and in whose defense no one ever shows up?

There is no denying that we all harbor some form of prejudice here or there.

To have some traces of prejudice in our back minds is one thing, to embrace those prejudices and to act upon them is a much less tolerable affair — especially if you are a police officer where it then becomes an issue of abuse of power.

Ronald Davis chief of police for the city of East Palo Alto laid it best, telling CNN that for police officers, “race is a descriptor, not a predictor,” or at least it ought to be.

Which raises another question: given the undeniable history of racial profiling against blacks and other minorities in this country, what are police departments doing to ensure that we truly move beyond race and culture as a predictor of bad behavior by men and women in uniform who strive to serve and protect?

While there are many officers of impeccable integrity doing their jobs in laudable fashion out there, law enforcement cannot rely on individual integrity to get past this social hurdle.

There needs to be a systemic solution to this pervasive problem, and it needs to take into account the perspectives and expertise of trusted community partners from minority communities.

Racial and cultural sensitivity training needs to be instituted in every aspect of law enforcement, and it needs to undergo occasional quality control to ensure its effectiveness because, often times, it devolves into a token affair.

Until then, professor Gates is owed a public apology. He waits and many of us await with him.

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