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faith & values

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Daith piercing could help alleviate headaches

Intense and often sudden headaches can be debilitating.

Migraine sufferers may find relief in a unique technique: an ear piercing.

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Paula Nicholls has suffered from migraine headaches since second grade. The pain is so intense, she's hoping a trip to a tattoo studio will bring relief.

Migraine medicines haven't worked, so Nicholls is trying out a new trend that involves piercing a portion of the ear known as the daith.

Daith piercing was the topic of an essay by University of Florida health neurologist Edward Neely presented at the American Headache Society this June.

“I've seen some patients with good response and other with virtually no response,” Neely said.

Neely said one patient has been headache free for at least 18 months. He said the daith piercings go through the vagus nerve.

“So potentially piercing that nerve can act like a permanent acupuncture needle,” Neely said.

Professional piercer Kelly Buscher said while these kinds of piercings are nothing new, thanks to social media, the trend for the method of headache relief has grown in the past year. 

“There have been days where I've done 10 piercings where it's just the daith only,” Buscher said

For Nicholls, a chance to be pain-free was worth exploring.

Within a minute, Nicholls’ piercing was done and she said the pressure in the left side of her head was gone. 

“I usually have a lot of sinus pressure and a lot of pressure near my face, but I automatically felt the difference between my left side and my right side -- it feels more free on this side and it feels amazing,” Nicholls said.

“People are tired of the medications, Botox, so they're using this as one of the last resorts and taking a jump to see if it works,” Buscher said.

Neely said the procedure may not work for everyone, but it’s something more people may decide to try, hoping for even a chance to live a life pain free.

BYU is allowing Coca-Cola, caffeinated soda on campus and everyone is freaking out

On Thursday morning, Brigham Young University announced the university will offer caffeinated soft drinks – including Coca-Cola – on campus and fans couldn’t contain their excitement.

The BYU Twitter account posted the news along with a Q&A with BYU director of dining services Dean Wright on the decision to bring caffeinated soft drinks on the Provo, Utah, campus for the first time since the mid-1950s.

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BYU is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints and requires students to adhere to a strict honor code in line with the church’s beliefs. The honor code enforces a mandated dress code, personal grooming standards as well as abstinence from premarital sex, drugs and alcohol.

BYU is the largest religious university and third-largest private university in the United States.

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Woman, grief-stricken by father's suicide, thanks comforting bystanders in open letter

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A Colorado woman is thanking strangers for their support during a life-shattering event that happened 10 months ago.

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Deborah Greene was completely shocked when she received a phone call in April 2015 with news that her father, Lowell Herman, had committed suicide.

Greene was devastated and yelled out, "He's dead!"

In an open letter on her blog, she wrote that she continued to cry and scream in the Whole Foods supermarket where she had been shopping for groceries as part of her Monday errands. 

"Dear Strangers," she wrote. "I remember you. 10 months ago, when my cell phone rang with news of my father’s suicide, you were walking into Whole Foods, prepared to go about your food shopping, just as I had done only minutes before. You could have kept on walking, ignoring my cries, but you didn’t. You could have simply stopped and stared at my primal display of pain, but you didn’t."

She goes on to say that store patrons comforted her, asked for her phone password so that they could call and inform her husband and offered to drive her home. They prayed with her and contributed money to buy her a giftcard to the store, which she would later use during her time of mourning.

"I remember one of you asking if you could pray for me and for my father," Greene wrote. "I must have said yes, and now when I recall that Christian prayer being offered up to Jesus for my Jewish father and me, it still both brings tears to my eyes and makes me smile. As I sat (with a friend,) one of you sent back a gift card to Whole Foods; though you didn’t know me, you wanted to offer a little something to let me know that you would be thinking of me and holding me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. That gift card helped to feed my family, when the idea of cooking was so far beyond my emotional reach."

Greene, who's now an advocate for issues of mental illness and suicide prevention and awareness, concluded with this: 

"I never saw you after that. But I know this to be true: If it were not for all of you, I might have simply gotten in the car and tried to drive myself home. I wasn’t thinking straight, if I was thinking at all. If it were not for you, I don’t know what I would’ve done in those first raw moments of overwhelming shock, anguish and grief. But I thank God every day I didn’t have to find out."

Read the full post below.

"Dear Strangers, "I remember you. Ten months ago, when my cell phone rang with news of my father’s suicide, you were walking into Whole Foods, prepared to go about your food shop, just as I had done only minutes before. "But I had already abandoned my cart full of groceries and I stood in the entryway of the store. My brother was on the other end of the line. He was telling me my father was dead, that he had taken his own life early that morning and through his own sobs, I remember my brother kept saying, 'I’m sorry Deborah,  I’m so sorry.' I can’t imagine how it must have felt for him to make that call. "And as we hung up the phone, I started to cry and scream, as my whole body trembled. This just couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be happening. Only moments before I was filling my cart with groceries, going about my errands on a normal Monday morning. Only moments before my life felt intact. Overwhelmed with emotions, I fell to the floor, my knees buckling under the weight of what I had just learned. And you kind strangers, you were there. "You could have kept on walking, ignoring my cries, but you didn’t. You could have simply stopped and stared at my primal display of pain, but you didn’t. No, instead you surrounded me as I yelled through my sobs, 'My father killed himself. He killed himself. He’s dead.' And the question that has plagued me since that moment came to my lips in a scream, 'Why?' I must have asked it over and over and over again. I remember in that haze of emotions, one of you asked for my phone and asked who you should call. What was my password? You needed my husband’s name as you searched through my contacts. I remember that I could hear your words as you tried to reach my husband for me, leaving an urgent message for him to call me. I recall hearing you discuss among yourselves who would drive me home in my car and who would follow that person to bring them back to the store. You didn’t even know one another, but it didn’t seem to matter. You encountered me, a stranger, in the worst moment of my life and you coalesced around me with common purpose, to help. I remember one of you asking if you could pray for me and for my father. I must have said yes, and I recall now that Christian prayer being offered up to Jesus for my Jewish father and me, and it still both brings tears to my eyes and makes me smile. In my fog, I told you that I had a friend, Pam, who worked at Whole Foods and one of you went in search of her and thankfully, she was there that morning and you brought her to me. I remember the relief I felt at seeing her face, familiar and warm. She took me to the back, comforting and caring for me so lovingly until my husband could get to me. And I even recall as I sat with her, one of you sent back a gift card to Whole Foods; though you didn’t know me, you wanted to offer a little something to let me know that you would be thinking of me and holding me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. That gift card helped to feed my family, when the idea of cooking was so far beyond my emotional reach. "I never saw you after that. But I know this to be true, if it were not for all of you, I might have simply gotten in the car and tried to drive myself home. I wasn’t thinking straight, if I was thinking at all. If it were not for you, I don’t know what I would’ve done in those first raw moments of overwhelming shock, anguish and grief. But I thank God every day that I didn’t have to find out. Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day. And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life altering moment, it is not all darkness. Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured. You may not remember it. You may not remember me. But I will never, ever forget you. And though you may never know it, I give thanks for your presence and humanity, each and every day." <script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Posted by Deborah Greene on Sunday, March 13, 2016

Couple posts heartwarming photo on Facebook after disastrous car crash

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"Three seconds. That's how long we had from the moment we drifted off the road until the truck hit the pillar at 85mph," Arika Stovall wrote in a post on Facebook.

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Stovall, a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her boyfriend, Hunter Hanks, were on their way back to Nashville from Jacksonville, Florida on New Year's Day when they crashed into a concrete bridge pillar. They don't remember what happened in the moments before the crash.

The Toyota Tundra pickup truck they were traveling in was totaled. Hanks' head was plunged through the car's windshield. Stovall underwent a panic attack. The crash could have been fatal.

And yet, the two survived with little physical damage.

"(There were) no broken bones, concussions that lasted not even 24 hours, no internal damage and just a few stitches in my knee and Hunter's face," Stovall wrote. "I don't know how we lived through that," she told WTVF

Shortly after the crash, Stovall posted a photo on Facebook with a caption explaining the accident, the effects and her disbelief that the two had survived.

In the photo, Hanks is leaning over Stovall, who is lying in a hospital bed. Both are wearing neck braces and clearly wounded, but they're smiling at each other.

"Embrace the struggles and the joys of this life," Stovall wrote. "Without a doubt, it's a miracle we're alive, but more than that it's simply God's plan for us. We're so grateful for this wreck and all it will do in our lives. We are blessed to be okay."

The post has been shared more than 92,000 times. 

Three seconds. That's how long we had from the moment we drifted off the road until the truck hit the pilar at 85mph. In...Posted by Arika Stovall on Sunday, January 3, 2016

Number of Bible skeptics rises in U.S.

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The latest American Bible Society's "State of the Bible" poll reveals the number of people said to be "Bible engaged" is now equal to the percentage of people who do not believe the Bible is sacred. 

"The survey finds more and more Americans consider the Bible to be teachings of men... rather than the word of God. The poll... from the American Bible Society... found the greatest increase in those opinions came from Americans between the ages of 18 and 29." (Via WCSC)

Both groups now sit at 19 percent. The percentage of "Bible skeptics" is up from 10 percent in 2011. That's a concerning change, according to the president of the society. (Via WOFL)

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Those who are engaged by the Bible are those who read it on a regular basis and believe the book is the actual or inspired Word of God. On the other hand, skeptics see the Bible merely as stories and advice. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Amandajm)

The study, conducted annually by Barna Research, is based on more than 2,000 interviews with U.S. adults in January and February.

It finds this trend is most pronounced among millennials, those who are range in age from 18 to 29. But why? Most say they are either too busy or significant life changes or events created doubt in their faith. 

The president of American Bible Society says the survey shows “... we just can’t hand them a Bible and expect them to find the answers. We have to get out the word to give God’s word a chance. It’s urgent.” (Via The Washington Post) But the newspaper points out Bible related movies are "raking it in at the box office."

Son of God grossed more than $25 million when it first opened in February. (Via 20th Century Fox / "Son of God")

And "Noah" topped the box office charts when it hit theaters at the end of March, bringing in $44 million its opening weekend. (Via Paramount Pictures / "Noah").

The American Bible Society of course hopes this uptake in "Bible skeptics" reverses. The president believes more people will eventually look to the Bible for answers to America's moral decline. (Via Religion News Service)

Heartbreaking history: Slavery in photos

Our DNA may help decide how nice we are

Are nice people born that way?

Partly, a new study suggests, but genes don't tell the whole story.

The new research adds to the evidence linking specific genes to kindness and generosity, but these traits were also influenced by views about whether the world was a threatening or non-threatening place.

So although DNA may influence behavior, people do not come pre-programmed to be kind or mean or altruistic or selfish, says lead researcher Michael Poulin, PhD, of the University at Buffalo.

"We are not just puppets of our genes," Poulin tells WebMD. "Genes influence niceness in combination with perceptions of social threat, which come from our past and present experiences."

Oxytocin, Vasopressin: Niceness Genes?

Poulin and colleagues from the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Irvine, focused their research on the closely related hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which have previously been linked to social behaviors, including love, generosity, and empathy.

They wanted to find out how expression of the two genes interacted with people's experiences and feelings to affect behavior.

To do this, they surveyed people via the Internet about their views on civic responsibility, such as whether they considered it their duty to report crimes or pay taxes, and whether they participated in charitable activities such as giving blood or attending PTA meetings.

The study participants were also asked if they viewed other people as basically "good" or "bad," and if they saw the world as more "threatening" or "non-threatening."

About 700 of those who participated also provided saliva samples for DNA analysis, which showed whether they had the specific genetic receptors for oxytocin and vasopressin that have been linked to traits associated with niceness.

People who reported finding the world to be a threatening place were generally less likely to exhibit social behaviors linked to niceness, such as charitable giving -- unless they had these versions of the genes.

The study appears in this month's issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Poulin says the fact that the genes predicted behavior only in combination with people's experiences and feelings about the world isn't surprising, because most connections between DNA and social behavior are complex.

'Love Hormone,' 'Cuddle Chemical'

Oxytocin has long been known to play a major role in childbirth and lactation, but over the last decade numerous studies have linked it more broadly to mother-child bonding and to other aspects of social interactions.

Because of this, it has variously been referred to as the "love hormone" and "cuddle chemical."

Cute names aside, University of Maryland School of Medicine professor and chair Margaret McCarthy, PhD, says the evidence that oxytocin and vasopressin play major roles in human social interaction is now quite strong.

"Humans are intensely social, and these hormones may have a lot to do with why we have evolved to be so social and so cooperative," McCarthy tells WebMD. "It is interesting that a hormone that exists for the purposes of giving birth and lactation has been co-opted to facilitate increased trust and cooperation with strangers."

She says the new research, like previous studies, highlights the interaction between genes and environment in determining behavior.

SOURCES:Poulin, M.J. Psychological Science, April 2012.Michael Poulin, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, N.Y.Margaret McCarthy, PhD, professor of physiology and psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.News release, University at Buffalo, SUNY.

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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