Top 10 | Healthcare Collaborator

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Healthcare Collaborator Award

These Patient Leaders understand healthcare from the patient perspective, but they are also professionals with the skills and ability to help companies advance their most critical patient-facing initiatives. Speaking at conferences, consulting with healthcare companies, using their education to help make a change in the healthcare industry – these Patient Leaders are bridging the gap between industry stakeholders and healthcare consumers.

Melissa Talwar | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Winner

Melissa’s advocacy work started in the early 2000’s, and she was part of the first Fibromyalgia group in Sacramento for the first Fibromyalgia Proclamation. That day ignited a passion to pursue advocacy work and find better answers for the Fibromyalgia community. She continues to bring Fibromyalgia education to patients across the country and to legislators at Capitol Hill. Be sure to connect and she’ll see you on the road!

Follow the WEGO Health Award winner on social.

AutonomicRN | Dysautonomia Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“RN turned full time patient. After Dysautonomia turned my life upside down, I was forced to figure out the new normal. While each day constantly brings change and unpredictability, I’ve been able to use my experiences to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Through blogging, online advocacy, and serving on a National Leadership Team for a nonprofit as Medical, Clinical Liaison and also on their Advocacy Team, my voice now reaches individuals globally. While I loved bedside nursing, I never thought about the reach that I possibly could have on a global level. Connecting with so many patient leaders, advocates, and members of health care teams has been invaluable and has allowed me to forge new relationships that I never thought was possible.”

It’s with a heavy heart we share Kim has since passed, but please learn more about her journey and become inspired by her work.

Stacy Hurt | Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I am a passionate, outspoken health care strategist and activist. Having been a healthcare executive for 20+ years and advocating for both my disabled/special needs son and myself as a stage IV colorectal cancer survivor, I understand the need for connection and collaboration between health care professionals and patients. Empathy and communication are greatly lacking, and I am the authentic voice to bridge that gap. I am particularly interested in survivorship, invisible disabilities, patient centricity, and #doingawareness (as opposed to just “raising” awareness).”

Add Stacy to your feeds to stay updated on her advocacy.

Brianna Cardenas | Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“As a Physician Assistant with EDS and a CSF leak, my goal is to raise awareness about these conditions both online and amongst my colleagues in the medical field. I now work as a professor in a PA program and teach my students about EDS, CSF leaks, and other chronic illnesses and how they impact patients. I am grateful for my perspective from both sides of the stethoscope and will continue to advocate for better healthcare for all of us!”

Learn more about the important work Brianna is doing and follow her on social. 

Liz Kennerley | Rare Disease Patient Leader

2019 Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Finalist

“I’m a mitochondrial disease patient and volunteer federal health policy lobbyist. My primary focus will always be rare disease legislation. However, in order to completely advocate for the 1 in 10 Americans with a rare condition other areas of health policy had to become a priority. While the legislative priorities are to help patients like all of us, the angle, legislation, and discussion are different each time. On the Hill, I have advocated alongside pharmaceutical CEOs, scientists, doctors, and patients.”

Check out Liz’s advocacy on Capitol Hil and beyond. 

Amanda Greene | Lupus Patient Leader

“As a Patient Leader, Amanda encourages other people to become your own best advocate and start by sharing their story to impact and inspire healthcare organizations to collaborate with patient communities. Amanda is known for sharing her personal healthcare experience wherever she is – whether on stage (as a keynote speaker or panelist), writing a guest post for a national healthcare organization or online.”

Follow Amanda on social.

Paolo Maccallini | ME/CFS Patient Leader

“A lot of patients have asked me why I use my little energies to study my disease, instead of just waiting for science to conquer it.There are many reasons, the first one being that I am desperate because of the cognitive disability that is worse than death. I am not concerned about the physical limitations, at all, even though I have been mostly housebound for the last 20 years. Another reason is that I like computational biology, and I started studying engineering before getting sick with the idea of switching to bioengineering after graduating. So, this is my job.”

Stay updated about Paolo’s advocacy work.

Barby Ingle | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

Cheerleader of HOPE – Barby Ingle, BSc, is an Amazon bestselling author, reality television personality, and president of International Pain Foundation (iPain) sharing her powerful story about life-changing events that forced life reflection, purpose, and her journey from wheels to heals. Barby has a degree in Social Psychology from George Mason University and more than 20 years of living with chronic pain and 30 years of motivational speaking experience.

Want to learn more about Barby? Click here to follow her on social. 

Tom Kindlon | ME Patient Leader

“After being diagnosed for over a year, I realised there was a good chance I was going to be stuck being quite ill & disabled for a long period, possibly indefinitely, a prospect that wasn’t appealing. Moreover, I realised that there wasn’t a huge effort to research the illness well; it wasn’t on the radar the way many other conditions were. I have been busy for the last 23 years working away as a (voluntary) ME activist. Much of what I concentrated on in the early years was raising awareness & understanding in Ireland with the Irish ME/CFS Association. I have done around 50 media interviews & have been featured in most of the national newspapers in Ireland. I have written dozens of press releases & have helped arrange for around 130 Irish families affected with ME to tell their story over the years in over 400 interviews. A lot more people are diagnosed here now & attitudes have improved.”

Follow Tom to be educated and inspired.

Brooke Schnittman | ADHD Patient Leader

Brooke Schnittman, MA, ACC, BCC, has been nominated for multiple awards including “Best In Show Community” and”Advocating For Another.” She is the creator of What’s Next and ADHDEdCamp. When working with clients, it is Brooke’s mission to empower them to achieve their personal goals and break through the obstacles that seem to be holding them back in life.

Add some inspiration to your feeds by following Brooke.

What Day Is It? This Is Your Brain on Quarantine

May 7, 2020 — If it feels like all your internal clocks are melting as your stay-at-home days drone on, you are not alone. Researchers say that people in various levels of COVID-19 quarantine around the world are reporting a distorted sense of time.

Some people say they feel as if their days are sped up and flying by, while others sense that time has slowed to a crawl. An event that happened just weeks ago feels like something that happened years ago.

WJW, a Fox affiliate in Cleveland, started a tongue-in-cheek segment on its morning show that does nothing more than tell people what day it is. It went viral.

Researchers are hoping to use this collective time warp to learn more about how the brain perceives time and what, exactly, throws those perceptions out of whack.

Philip Gable, PhD, director of experimental programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, recognized the pandemic was messing with our sense of time early on. He quickly applied for a grant from the National Science Foundation to take stock of what is going on. So far, he’s surveyed about 1,100 people across the U.S. He’s still analyzing his data, but early results show that about half — 48% — have reported that time was moving slowly or dragging during the past month, while 1 in 4, or 25%, said they felt like time was flying faster than usual.

Why that might be happening is still an open question, but cognitive scientists already know some of the rough outlines of what’s going on.

“We’re losing a lot of temporal cues,” says Sophie Herbst, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Temporal cues or temporal anchors are regularly occurring events, like weekends, which would normally break up the workweek. These anchors help us orient in time.

In 1974, researchers in Israel conducted what has become a classic experiment in the field of time perception.

Israel has a 6-day workweek, with one day of rest: Saturday. For 2 weeks, on each workday, scientists approached people on the street and asked them, “What day is today?”

The farther people in the study got from Saturday, their Sabbath, the longer it took them to come up with the correct answer. By Wednesday, it took study volunteers about 1 second longer to remember the day of the week than it had on Sunday. They got faster again as the week drew to a close.

“The general idea is that people take certain events during the week that are cyclical, and they anchor themselves to it, and the farther you get out from that anchor, the harder it is to tell when it is,” says Martin Weiner, PhD, an assistant professor of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. When you stay at home all the time, he notes, “weekends don’t exist anymore.”

Weiner is part of an international group of scientists who have launched the Time and Social Distancing Study, which is running in eight languages. To participate, people log in from home and answer a battery of questions at three separate points in time — during quarantine, about 10 days after quarantine, and 3 months after stay-at-home orders have ended.

Weiner said one key question of the study is whether staying at home all the time has stripped us all of our temporal anchors and sent us adrift — giving us all the feeling that we don’t know when “now” is.

He says you can help yourself by keeping Saturday and Sunday as weekends. Do different things on those days. Make pancakes for breakfast. Get more rest. Drive somewhere for an outdoor adventure, for example.

The loss of temporal anchors may help explain why we lose our place in time, but what about the feeling of time expanding? April feels like it was years ago.

Chalk that one up to the loss of exceptional events in our lives, says Marc Wittmann, PhD, a research fellow at the Institute for Frontier Areas in Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany.

“Every day is just as the other day,” he says. “I think we’re just all lost in time now.”

Wittmann studies how emotion impacts our perception of time. He says the more emotional memories you make, the longer that time will seem when you reflect on it.

Imagine taking a weekend trip somewhere with a friend. You’re having a great time, and your days are filled with new experiences. When you reflect on that weekend later, it’s likely to seem like it was much longer than it actually was because you were making more memories than usual and they were weighted with emotion.

“After 2 to 3 days, it feels like such a long time has passed. Time stretches. The same 2 to 3 days staying at home, it feels like time has passed so quickly. Why? Because nothing has happened that feels memorable,” he says.

By the same token, says Gable, strong emotions like fear and disgust make time slow down.

“If you’re really disgusted or really afraid of something, time will tend to drag,” he says.

The reason that happens is that there’s actual physical time, as measured by a clock. And internally, we have our own estimation of that time. That estimation can be sped up or slowed down by our emotions and attention and other things, like brain injuries.

In threatening situations, our internal timekeeper speeds up relative to the actual time. That helps us quickly flee or get ready to fight. But as a result, if you notice a clock in the middle of a threatening situation, time will seem like it’s moving very slowly.

“The more people who are experiencing worry and stress and anxiety, uncertainty about the future, the more that they are experiencing time go by slower,” Gable says.

He says pandemic anxiety is particularly challenging to deal with because the solution for stopping the coronavirus is to sit at home more, by yourself. So we’ve lost a lot of social support and things that might relieve some of the anxiety, like a favorite hobby you’ve had to forgo for the moment because the place where you go to do it — say, the lap pool at the gym — isn’t open.

One thing that can help is to create a different kind of emotion, called approach motivation. That’s the feeling we get when we’re setting out to achieve a goal. Gable says giving yourself new goals to meet, and breaking those goals down into daily, achievable tasks, can help you feel better and also help time pass more normally.

Finally, as much as possible, try to embrace social isolation as an opportunity, and not a chore, Wittmann says.

“We have to think about ourselves like the astronauts on the International Space Station. They’re in social confinement,” he says. “We might have more time to think about ourselves and our lives and what we want to do.”


Sophie Herbst, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist, Humboldt University, Berlin.

Martin Weiner, PhD, assistant professor, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

Philip Gable, PhD, director of experimental programs, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Marc Wittmann, PhD, research fellow, Institute for Frontier Areas in Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany.

Memory & Cognition: “What day is today? An inquiry into the process of time orientation.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Top 10 | Hilarious Patient Leader

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Hilarious Patient Leader Award

Advocacy doesn’t have to be all business and raising awareness doesn’t have to be all work. The truly funny Patient Leaders among us bring a lightness to the online health community. They address serious subjects with humor – and we love them for it. They may be witty, sharp, dry, or just have a way to tell a story that is truly funny.

Whether you’re looking for a dose of daily laughter or hoping to connect with new Patient Leaders in the space, take a moment to meet and follow the Top 10 Hilarious Patient Leaders of the online health community.

Double Baggin’ It | IBD Patient Leaders

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Winner

Danielle Gulden and Joe Teeters are IBD warriors and permanent ileostomates. They’re comedians, speakers, advocates and Two Best Friends without Buttholes! Joe and Danielle met through an ostomy support group and realized that they not only had a similar health journey, but also shared the same sense of humor and positive outlook on life. They became best friends, and soon after, Double Baggin’ It was born! DBI is their vehicle to spread awareness and advocate for patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases and ostomies. Danielle and Joe use their humor, wisdom, and stories to connect with and support other people living with ostomies and Inflammatory Bowel Disease! They believe in the power of humor, advocacy and awareness!

Learn more about Double Baggin’ It and follow the WEGO Health Awards winners now.

Myisha Malone | Crohn’s Disease Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I became an advocate after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and than diagnosed with crohn’s disease in 2016 I almost lost my life twice due to this horrible disease I believe that everyone needs someone they can count on to help them through this tough tile being newly diagnosed or a professional patient accurate information is key with my support group on facebook @gmaeofcrohnsandchronicillness my goal is to raise awareness as much as possible so no one feel as alone as i felt when i was first diagnosed i love being an advocate for others”

Stay up to date with Myisha and her advocacy.

Kimberly Elayyne | Ankylosing Spondilitis Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I knew that I couldn’t be the only one experiencing this so I decided to make a change the best I could. I began being an advocate in 2016 when life hit me hard. The only thing I knew how to do that saved me from the pain, was to encourage others. I want to leave this world and people better than I found it.”

Follow Kimberly on social.

Naunie Harris | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“I’m a 19 year old nursing student and worship leader! I have been diagnosed with multiple chronic illness’s since I was 11 and have had 12+ procedures. I have a feeding tube so I guess you could say i’m a “cheap date”! I’m currently in nursing school online as well as writing a book to be released in 2020. I share my journey through social media with humor and how being sick has changed my view on life!”

Add Naunie’s hilarious voice to your feeds.

Psoriatic Pstandup | Psoriasis Patient Leader

2019 Hilarious Patient Leader Award Finalist

“Psoriasis is a serious disease, but that doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves too seriously!
My name is Chris, and my wife and I founded Psoriatic Pstandup in 2016. I use humor to relate to others with psoriatic disease.”

You don’t want to miss out on this funny approach to advocacy!

Nicole Sigur | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

“Hey there! Nicole, otherwise known as @cystic4real or “gross she’s coughing a lot”. Cystic Fibrosis patient and advocate. Double lung transplant recipient 6/14/19. 5 foot with male lungs; sorry gentlemen, I’m taken. Married 6/1/19 to best IT guy ever (if you had any question that I’m a multitasker). Mixed raced mamas girl; Ravenclaw; Capricorn. Self proclaimed comedian.”

Find out more about Nicole and add her to your feeds.

Bev ‘YumaBev’ Ribaudo | Parkinson’s Disease Patient Leader

“I have had Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (PD) for 20+ years and use laughter and humor to treat myself and educate others about PD. I write a blog called Parkinson’s Humor and also authored a book with the same title (available on Amazon.) I write and perform PD song parodies, even though I know I can’t sing!”

Join YumaBev in laughing at Parkinson’s.

Ken Taylor | Chronic Pain Patient Leader

Ken Taylor is a caregiver for his wife who lives with multiple chronic pain conditions. Ken is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and vice-president of the International Pain Foundation. He is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author on pain topics, graphic designer, and reality personality.

This funny caregiver is someone you’ll want to add to your feeds!

Keeya Steel – Hell’s Bells and Mast Cells | Chronic Illness Patient Leader

“When you become allergic to chocolate, alcohol, and sunshine, you absolutely learn to cope through humor. Hell’s Bells and Mast Cells is a blog and collection of memes raising awareness about chronic illness, disability, and mast cell disease. Sometimes my humor is as dry as my eyeballs after three Zyrtec. I also am diagnosed with EDS and POTS, but I don’t want to come across as a show off.”

Click here to follow this hilarious advocate.

@TheCancerPatient | Cancer Patient Leader

While cancer is no joke, @Thecancerpatient uses social media provides a funny and therapeutic way to look at the cancer journey. His content is relatable to cancer patients and survivors of all types and stages as well as caregivers and medical providers. This satirical look at life as a cancer patient offers necessary moments of laughter along the cancer journey.

Add some laughter to your feed by connecting with @TheCancerPatient.


Treating Sun Spots Just as Important as Wrinkle Care

Women ages 30 and older are growing increasingly aware of new wrinkles with each passing year. Yet, evidence suggests that sun spots  may have as much of an impact on age-related appearance as wrinkles.

Nearly 63 percent of women older than age 35 experience sun or age spots, discolorations and uneven skin. The dark side? The problem reflects your apparent age — or lack of youth.

“Getting a clear, even skin tone without discoloration is just as important as wrinkle-fighting to achieving a rejuvenated, youthful appearance,” says Dr. Ellen Marmur, prominent New York City dermatologist and author of “Simple Skin Beauty.” “To some patients, it’s even more important.”

Dermatologists like Marmur call it hyperpigmentation, but its various types are commonly known as age spots, sun spots, liver spots, freckles and melasma, brown patches of skin triggered by a hormone imbalance. Age spots, sun spots and liver spots are all the same ailment — pouches of melanin where the skin pigment has overproduced and dumped uneven amounts, the majority of which are a result of sun damage.

According to Marmur, the two most used topical treatments for discoloration are hydroquinone and retinoids, which both may have irritating side effects and require a prescription. However, a new alternative, StriVectin-EV Get Even Brightening Serum, is an over-the-counter solution that’s clinically proven to work quickly minus the same risky side effects.

“StriVectin-EV Get Even products, both the serum and new Get Even Spot Repair, combine natural ingredients like willow bark, vitamin C and licorice with our unique, patented form of niacin for the most even supply of pigment, skin repair and anti-aging effects,” explains chief scientist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry Myron Jacobson. “Studies reveal 85 percent of women see reduced sun spots and more even skin color after eight weeks of use.”

But to treat the long-term problem, sufferers of dark spots should also heed the following sun-related advice:

  • Wear sunscreen year-round with an SPF of 30. For prolonged sun exposure, get a wide-brimmed hat to wear outdoors.
  • Neutralize stubborn spots with peach-toned concealer while using StriVectin-EV Get Even products to slow down melanin production.
  • Beware of products that bleach skin, as this can cause white spots, another form of discoloration.

Top 10 | Rookie of the Year

The 2019 WEGO Health Awards turned out to be our biggest celebration yet! With over 6k nominations and 130k endorsements, we were able to celebrate more Patient Leaders than ever before.

The program celebrates the top 5 finalists in each of the 15 WEGO Health Awards categories, but with so many nominations, it’s nearly impossible to shine a bright light on all these deserving nominees! In hopes of recognizing even more nominees, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category based on community endorsements.

WEGO Health Awards Rookie of the Year Award

Every year, more and more health bloggers are excited by empowerment, raising awareness, and helping others. This particular group of Patient Leaders just started their blog, site, or community work this year and are already making a huge impact. Though they’re new to the scene, they show a ton of promise and are, without a doubt, going to do amazing things in the future.

Help us welcome these Top 10 Rookies of the Year to the online health community:

Emily Garnett | Breast Cancer Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Winner

“I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 32, the same week my son turned two and my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. (Big week for our family). After my diagnosis, I began blogging about my diagnosis, treatment, and thoughts about all of it. I found that there needed to be further conversations about the nuances of life with/around cancer, and started my podcast, The Intersection of Cancer and Life, in 2018. Since my diagnosis, I have been a corporate speaker, program organizer, advocate, and collaborator for a number of research and community groups relating to metastatic breast cancer. While I was busy with all of that, my cancer was also quite busy, and spread from my bones to my lung, liver, and brain. Despite being composed of mostly tumor at this point, I continue to blog, podcast, and talk everyone’s ear off about the need for research, advocacy, and better understanding of metastatic cancer.”

It’s with deep sadness we share Emily passed away in early 2020, read more about her legacy here.

PodcastDX | Rare Disease Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“Many Americans turn to friends and family for support and advice when they have a health problem. Since people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease, we decided to implement a podcast series to interview and discuss various diagnoses with actual patients. Health professionals remain the central source of information for most Americans, but “peer-to-peer healthcare” is a significant supplement. We are just entering our second year, but the impact we are making shows with our ever growing listener base. Our numbers are fast approaching 10,000, and we are picked up in dozens of countries! We hope to continue this growth as we add a new arm to our company, bringing mental health into clearer focus.”

Add PodcastDX to your feeds to stay on top of their advocacy.

The Living Tree | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“Helping others is something I have always been passionate about so when I started accumulating all this knowledge and tips and tricks, I knew I had to share it with others. Just like that, my YouTube channel The Living Tree was born! I love being able to share everything that I’ve learned so far and sharing my experiences with others who may need that information the most. My goal is to continue to better myself, to keep growing and learning, to continue to share my truths about life with Fibromyalgia through the good days and bad days, and to always be there for my fellow spoonies.”

Brighten up your feeds by following this passionate fresh voice.

Mia Gaudenzi | Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“My story begins the day I was born although no one knew it yet, I was incredibly ill. At 3 years old I began getting frequent pneumonia’s and doctors couldn’t figure out why I was so unlucky. Mom and I would make regular trips to the ER for answers and receive the same answer over and over “your daughter is fine, she’s just caught a virus, don’t worry too much” so after many google searches and symptom checkers my mom had unofficially diagnosed me with life threatening, terminal Cystic Fibrosis. Later on genetic testing would confirm that diagnosis and my life changed forever!”

Learn more about this young leader and her advocacy.

Fab Fertility with Blair Nelson | Infertility Patient Leader

2019 Rookie of the Year Finalist

“My husband and I began trying to grow our family when we got married two years ago. Being the impatient woman I am, after 6 months of BFNs (big fat negative tests), I had to be proactive. After very basic and preliminary testing we found ourselves with a challenging infertility diagnosis and in a Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office with IVF as our only option to start a family. Marital bliss was slapped in the face with infertility reality. After our first round of IVF we were able to make 4 viable embryos to transfer. Our first attempt and our second ended in miscarriage. The miscarriage was what finally shook me to my core. My heart was broken, I was lonely and confused. I had no where to turn. So I did what anyone in this day and age would do… turned to the internet! I started Fab Fertility to find community and cope. That quickly turned into a passion to help educate and encourage others so they never felt how I did. I’m still in the middle of my journey but I feel a sense of purpose from it all and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to advocate for others trying to make their dreams of a family come true.”

Find education and encouragement by following this inspirational leader.

Rafaela Estrougo | Epilepsy Patient Leader

“Hi! I’m Rafaela, from Brazil living in LA. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 1 year old. Discovered my path is to help and support, but especially spread the word out there. Join the epilepsy community and raise awareness to end stigma. Epilepsy doesn’t define me. And it doesn’t define you either!”

Learn and grow along with Rafaela by adding her to your feeds.

Myisha Malone | Crohn’s Disease Patient Leader

“I am dedicated to helping raise awareness for Crohn’s disease and all chronic illnesses and I run a support group on facebook called @gameofcrohnsandchronicillness. My goal is to raise awareness as much as possible so no one feel as alone as I felt when I was first diagnosed. I love being an advocate for others.”

Love to be educated and inspired? Click here to follow Myisha.

Ellen Bookman | Parkinson’s Disease Patient Leader

“It took a Parkinson’s diagnosis to realize I have a gift. The other day, John, one of my boxer friends, said to me ‘thanks for being my friend and making my situation easier.’ To anyone who will listen, here’s my message — Get up. Get up now, and don’t wait for a diagnosis to change your life. And, if you happen to get a life changing diagnosis, my advice is to LIVE. JUST LIVE!!!!”

Check out Ellen and her positive advocacy.

Jamie Teachey-Pyle | Chronic Illness and Mental Health Patient Leader

“Before I became disabled I was a teacher. I will teach forever. I will teach people to advocate. I will teach people to KNOW THEIR patient rights. I will be an unpaid patient advocate. It took 30 years for me to get a diagnosis. I will teach people to advocate so this does not happen to them.”

Stay updated on Jamie’s incredible advocacy by following her.

Fabulous and Fatigued – Sara Naveed | Fibromyalgia Patient Leader

“It’s difficult having an invisible illness – being in a place where nobody can ever tell how it impacts you on a daily basis, yet it affects every single decision you make in your life. I’ve come to realize that I consider it to be a blessing, and a curse at the same time.”

Click here to learn more about Sara and to add her to your feeds.

These rookies are ready for the big leagues. Don’t forget to follow them!

Could an Ancient Drug Help Fight Severe COVID-19?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
WEDNESDAY, April 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — As researchers hunt for ways to treat severe COVID-19 infections, a new trial will ask whether an old arthritis drug can prevent serious complications in the first place.

The medication, called colchicine, is an oral anti-inflammatory that has long been prescribed for gout, a form of arthritis. Its history goes back thousands of years, and the drug was first sourced from the autumn crocus flower.

Doctors also sometimes use colchicine to treat pericarditis, where the sac around the heart becomes inflamed.

Now researchers in the United States and Canada are testing it for a different purpose: Keeping high-risk COVID-19 patients from getting sick enough to land in the hospital.

Colchicine is just one of several anti-inflammatory drugs currently in clinical trials for treating COVID-19.

It’s all part of a growing belief that the worst effects of the coronavirus infection are caused not by the virus itself, but by a massive overreaction of the immune system, known as a cytokine storm.

“I think there’s pretty substantial evidence that cytokine storm is involved,” said Dr. Randy Cron, a rheumatologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In a cytokine storm, the immune system goes into overdrive — flooding the body with proteins (cytokines) that trigger widespread inflammation. That causes often fatal damage to organs.

Cron, who was not involved in the new trial, literally wrote the textbook on cytokine storms — the 2019 Cytokine Storm Syndrome.

He explained that the immune reaction is not unique to COVID-19: Cytokine storms can arise in response to other infections, to cancer, to certain cancer therapies, or in people with autoimmune diseases.

The storm that brews against the new coronavirus does appear to be unique in certain ways, according to Cron.

“One example is that it sets up shop in the lungs first,” he said.

Still, Cron and other researchers believe that treatments for cytokine storm could ultimately prove key in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

A few powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, used for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, are already in late-stage trials. Those studies involve patients already hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia.


The colchicine study is different, said researcher Dr. Priscilla Hsue, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“One of the unique aspects is that we’re trying to hit this before people need to be hospitalized,” Hsue said.

Colchicine is the medication of choice for a few reasons, Hsue explained: Unlike the drugs being tested in hospital patients — which are given by infusion or injection — colchicine tablets are easy to take and inexpensive. And the medication has a long history of safe use for gout, she added.

Beyond that, Hsue added, a recent trial found that low-dose colchicine benefits people who’ve recently suffered a heart attack. Patients who took one tablet a day curbed their risk of further heart complications or stroke over the next two years.

Heart injury is a common problem in people who become seriously ill with COVID-19 — at least partly, researchers suspect, because of cytokine storm. Hsue said it all raises the question of whether colchicine could help prevent such heart issues.

The trial aims to enroll 6,000 patients newly diagnosed with COVID-19 who are at increased risk of serious illness — because they are older than 69, or have conditions like heart or lung disease.

To keep those patients isolated at home, the study has an unusual “contactless” design: Patients will receive the medication by courier, and have follow-up visits via video or phone. The researchers will look at whether the tactic lowers hospitalization rates and deaths over one month.

While Cron believes that targeting cytokine storms in COVID-19 is wise, he had some reservations about giving colchicine to people with no signs of the severe immune reaction. Could any dampening of their immune response against the virus backfire?

“My concern is, could it make the infection worse?” Cron said.

Hsue, however, pointed to the safety record of the medication, and noted that the dose given in the trial will be lower than what’s routinely used for gout.

In the end, Cron said, the only way to definitively prove any medication works for COVID-19 is through clinical trials.

The colchicine study is currently recruiting patients, with UCSF and New York University School of Medicine being the first two U.S. sites involved.

WebMD News from HealthDay



SOURCES: Priscilla Hsue, M.D., professor, medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Randy Cron, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pediatrics and medicine, director, pediatric rheumatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Proposed Federal “Distance Learning” Rules Help Big Tech Shut Down Brick-and-Mortar Public Schools, Replace Human Teachers with AI

The DeVos Department of Education’s new “Proposed Rules” for federal regulations of “Distance Education and Innovation” (85 FR 18638) will effectively open the floodgates for online education corporations to put public brick-and-mortar schools out of business by streamlining “adaptive-learning and other artificial intelligence” technologies that replace “human instructors” with “competency-based education (CBE)” software which provide “direct assessment” through “subscription-based” course-ware that data-mine students’ cognitive-behavioral algorithms to “personalize” digital lessons.

What Is Computerized CBE? No More Classrooms, No More “Credit Hours”:

As I have documented in several articles, “CBE” is a euphemism for educational methods that deploy computer modules based on Harvard Psychologist B. F. Skinner’s “teaching machines,” which implement operant-conditioning methods to “shape” student learning into “competent” behaviors geared toward college or career readiness. The terms “competency-based education” and “CBE” are used 147 times in the new Proposed Rules for 85 FR 18638, which is a total of 64 pages long. Compare this to the 392-pages of federal legislation that cover the entire Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which only contains 6 references to “competency-based education.”

According to Skinnerian  CBE advocates, competency-based computer learning at home is better than human instruction in a classroom because the one-to-one student/computer ratio enables each student to learn at his or her own pace. 85 FR 18638 states “CBE programs . . . measure student progress based on their demonstration of specific competencies rather than sitting in a seat or at a computer for a prescribed period of time. Many CBE programs are designed to permit students to learn at their own pace.” Stated differently, when a student enrolled in CBE course-ware is ready to move on to the next lesson, he or she can click on the next learning module without having to wait for the teacher to deliver the next lecture. And if a CBE student is not ready to move on to the next virtual lesson, he or she can re-mediate by repeating the same digital learning module without being “left behind” when the teacher moves on to the next lecture.

“Subscription-Based” Distance Learning, Pay-as-You-Go

To facilitate “self-paced” CBE learning, online education
corporations and other software companies are offering “subscription-based” e-learning services that enroll students on a pay-as-you-go basis. These self-paced CBE courses allow a student to “subscribe” for enrollment into virtual-learning
modules which can be rolled over with monthly subscription fees for as long or as soon as it takes for the student to demonstrate “competency” in the course.

Now that basically every US school has converted to virtual
“distance learning” through computers, 85 FR 18638 is attempting to loosen federal requirements for self-paced CBE course-ware so that online education corporations can rake in  federal funding for delivering more subscription-based
“competency” lessons through digital platforms:

[c]urrent regulations require an institution to evaluate a student’s pace of completion by dividing completed credits over attempted credits. This calculation is difficult to apply in competency-based programs, including subscription-based programs, because there is often no set period of time during which a student “attempts” a competency in such programs; rather, the student works on a competency until he or she can demonstrate mastery of it. Given the limitations in this proposed definition on a student’s eligibility to receive additional disbursements [of federal funds], we believe it is unnecessary and needlessly burdensome for an institution’s SAP policy to include pace requirements for subscription-based programs.

In other words, these new (de)regulations will relax the
legal requirements for online education corporations to receive federal funds, such as financial aid grants, as payments for students’ CBE subscription fees. It should be noted that  “subscription-based” e-learning is referenced 112 times in
these new Proposed Rules.

Adaptive Learning = Post-Human Artificial Intelligence

As I have documented in numerous articles, self-paced CBE subscriptions and “adaptive-learning” software basically go hand in hand. CBE “course-ware” subscriptions “personalize” lessons for students through “adaptive-learning” computers, which are nothing less than modern digitized versions of the “Skinner box,” or “teaching machine.” Adaptive-learning
software revamps B. F. Skinner’s “programmed instruction” with “artificial intelligence” that automates “stimulus-response” methods of educational psychology to train students for academic and career “competences.”

Essentially, adaptive-learning course-ware enables “self-paced” learning because the psychological-conditioning software “adapts” its lessons based on how the student “responds” to the virtual “stimuli,” such as multiple-choice or short-answer modules on digital windows. The faster the student responds with correct answers, the faster the learning stimuli will progress the student towards full “competence” at the end of the subscription-based course’s module sequence.

Incentivizing broader enrollment in subscription-based
adaptive-learning course-ware, 85 FR 18638 expands
the definition of accreditable “academic engagement” as participation by a student in . . . an online course with an opportunity for interaction or an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction.  . . . Such interaction could include the use of artificial intelligence or other adaptive learning tools.” Under this revised definition of
“academic engagement,” schools will be given expanded flexibility to accredit a vast range of self-paced CBE curriculum’s delivered by online education companies through adaptive-learning AI that programs students with ope-rant-conditioning algorithms.

Moreover, “academic engagement” is being further expanded  to give adaptive CBE course-ware the green-light to phase out certain requirements for human instruction: “[a]ctive engagement . . . could include the use of artificial intelligence or other adaptive learning tools so that the student is receiving feedback from technology-mediated instruction. The interaction need not be exclusively with a human instructor.” Indeed, adaptive AI can deliver “feedback” on student learning through “direct assessment,” which is referenced 226 times in the new Proposed Rules.

Of course, in a bankrupt economy where people are locked down under emergency pandemic, pretenses, such adaptive AI course-ware will be more convenient since the software can be available for the student 24-hours a day (unlike a human
teacher). In addition, the non-human AI bots will be much cheaper than human instructors who need to be fed and housed. So it looks like the proposed (de)regulations will set up incentives which will ensure that the virtual-learning industry is able to swallow up federal education funds while public brick-and-mortar schools and human teachers are starved out into

Sweeping Deregulation of Artificial Intelligence: AI Will Make Decisions for You

To be sure, AI adaptive-learning algorithms are evolving faster than legislators can deliberate on new regulations for such new “machine learning” innovations. Thus, to get out of the way of “progress,” 85 FR 18638 is basically writing a blank check for AI corporations to sell schools and students new e-learning products and ed-tech “updates” without preliminary regulatory permission from the federal government:[t]he current regulations [which] do not address subscription-based programs or consider programs made possible through artificial intelligence-driven adaptive learning.  . . . Because of the time it takes to implement new regulations, it is unlikely that the Department will be able to keep pace with developing technologies and other innovations in real time.

These proposed regulations attempt to remove barriers that institutions face when trying to create and implement new and innovative ways of providing education to students, and also provide sufficient flexibility to ensure that future innovations we cannot yet anticipate have an opportunity to move forward without undue risk of a negative program finding or other sanction on an institution.

To put it another way, AI-learning algorithms evolve faster than legislators can regulate, so these new federal rules will “remove barriers” to AI ed-tech progress by allowing educational institutions the “flexibility” to rubber-stamp new AI course-ware programs without prior regulatory approval from the US Department of Ed.

But if the federal government allows AI ed-tech to develop faster than Congress can regulate, then the Department of Ed will render itself into a mere ceremonial bureaucracy that
has abdicated its authority to AI algorithms, which means artificial intelligence will be in the driver’s seat taking control of the future of education policy as virtual distance learning becomes the mainstream mode of schooling in a post-corona economy.

It should be noted that Edgar McCulloch, who is a Government
Relations representative of the IBM Corporation, sat on the “Accreditation and Innovation negotiating committee” involved in the proposal of these new federal rules. This is worth noting because IBM develops AI ed-tech through its Watson artificial-intelligence program which partners with the globalist Pearson Education LLC: the “world’s largest education company,” which also runs online schooling companies including Connections Academy.

How much stimulus money will be vacuumed up by online education corporations and AI course-ware companies under these new federal rules? Will brick-and-mortar schools be able
to survive in a post-corona economy in which people are either heavily travel restricted or too poor to pay for school buildings and human employees? Will human teachers, or even human ethics, survive in a world in which the total deregulation of technocratic advancement exalts AI as the judge, jury, and executioner of human learning?

John Klyczek on EmailJohn Klyczek on Twitter

John Klyczek has an MA in English and has taught college rhetoric and research argumentation for over eight years. His literary scholarship concentrates on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel, Brave New World. He is the author of School World Order: The Technocratic Globalization of Corporatized Education (TrineDay Books); and he is a contributor to the Centre for Research on Globalization, OpEdNews, the Intrepid Report, the Dissident Voice, Education Views, Blacklisted News, the Activist Post, Counter Markets, News With Views, The Saker, Rense News, David Icke News, Natural News, What Really Happened, and the SGT Report. He is also the Director of Writing and Editing at Black Freighter Productions (BFP) Books. In addition, Klyczek holds a black belt in classical tae kwon do, and he is a certified kickboxing instructor under the international Muay Thai Boxing Association.

Serotonin: The Smile-Frown Chemical

Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain, blood platelets, and mainly in the digestive system (up to 90%). Its scientific name is 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT. This chemical is a neurotransmitter that delivers messages between our nerve cells. Most of our 40 million brain cells are communicating with serotonin. It is derived from tryptophan which is an essential amino acid, which means that we must obtain this chemical from outside sources. Tryptophan is found in foods like nuts, red meat, and cheese. The normal range for serotonin levels in your blood is 101–283 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) which can be determined by a blood test. However, blood tests don’t reveal the brain’s level of serotonin and there is currently not a way to do this. Men and women have about the same amount of serotonin, however, depression is more common in women. This may be because men and women respond to low levels of serotonin differently.

Serotonin plays a number of roles in the body. It helps with eating, digestion, bone health maintenance, healing wounds, sleeping, and helps to reduce and regulate anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is often time called the “happy chemical” because of its role in mood stabilization. When it comes to digestion, serotonin is found in the stomach and intestines and is involved in our bowel movements. This chemical also can be a danger to osteoporosis because high levels of serotonin cause the bones to weaken. Serotonin also helps with our sleep-wake cycle. Low levels of this chemical have been associated with depression and an imbalance can affect anxiety, happiness, and overall mood. When serotonin is balanced in the body, that person feels calmer, more focused, and emotionally stable. On the hand, when serotonin levels are high, a person becomes at risk for tumors in the colon, small appendix, bronchial tubes, and appendix.

There are natural approaches to try to increase serotonin levels in the body. A heathy diet rich in protein can help with foods that include nuts, cheese, eggs, turkey, salmon, pineapple, and tofu. Regular exercise can be a mood enhancer. Sunlight can also help with its vitamin D assistance.

It is important to pay attention to any warning signs that might indicate a serotonin imbalance in the body. This chemical truly does affect every part of the body including mental, physical, and emotional well- being.


Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.


“Arthrozene” The next level in natural joint health.

If you’re like me and have scoured the internet for a “Joint Health supplement” that actually works, so after many hours of continues websites leading to dead ends, I had given up but thanks to countless promotional emails I received due too surfing the internet paid off. I ordered a product called Arthrozene made by Fisico, a dietary capsule supplement that you take once a day on an empty stomach.

Arthrozene is a 3-step solution that attacks joint discomfort and stiffness at their root. Arthrozene claims to be clinically tested ingredients that soothe swelling, slow down cartilage degradation, and increase lubrication. This helps increase mobility and flexibility so you can get back to the daily activities you love and enjoy.

  • Slow the breakdown of cartilage.
  • Increase the production of joint fluid
  • Reduce soreness and discomfort
  • Improve mobility and flexibility

I quickly would like to point out to anyone who is a vegetarian or a vegan that this product contains B-2Cool Native Collagen type 11 which contains “chicken”.  The native type II collagen, sourced from chicken sternum, works with the body’s immune system to turn off T-cell attacks to endogenous type II collagen in the body, reducing the destruction of collagen. This mechanism of action is called oral tolerance. Damage to joint cartilage is often exacerbated when the immune system misinterprets degraded joint cartilage as a foreign substance rather than endogenous tissue. At a low dose of 40 mg, b-2Cool has a structure that mimics joint cartilage so that the immune system learns to recognize the body’s own collagen as endogenous.

Mobilee a natural component is 60-75% hyaluronic acid, 10% polysaccharides and 5% collagen. Improving mobility, joint health and muscle strength decreasing joint pain and improving the overall joint mechanics

ApresFlex is a potent extract of the Boswellia plant designed to stop joint pain caused by joint inflammation. By stopping this enzyme gives the joints the opportunity to defend itself and give it room to repair and heal.





NCOA offers a treasure trove of information for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is generating fear, confusion, and economic uncertainty for many older Americans, especially those living on a fixed income. Fortunately, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted nonprofit that has been helping older adults age with dignity and economic security for the last 70 years, is providing valuable information about corona-virus on its website,

NCOA experts are regularly curating and updating resources that are of vital importance to older adults and their caregivers. You will find blogs, links, and videos that address a wide range of issues, including: Food If you or someone you care for needs meals delivered, NCOA offers links to Meals on Wheels and Feeding America with options to search in your zip code for local services.

Feeding America and other food banks are adapting to the situation by setting up social distancing guidelines and smaller community drop-off points. For those who qualify, there is a link to apply for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, which helps individuals pay for nutritious food. Finances Many older Americans, especially those living on a fixed income, are concerned that COVID-19 will impact their financial situation now and in the future. In fact, many federal, state, and local benefits programs are available to older adults for help with financial challenges, including utility payments, medication costs, rent, and other expenses. NCOA’s companion website,, offers information about eligibility and how to apply for billions of dollars in benefits. In addition, although older Americans are advised to avoid non-essential travel, older adults can find options for critical transportation for essential medical visits or to pick up food and medication.

NCOA provides a link to Eldercare Locator to help find local transportation services, and also offers information about navigating telemedicine visits, which are becoming easier and more commonplace. Those concerned about Medicare benefits in the COVID-19 health care environment can use NCOA’s links to state and government sites for the latest information. Feelings The stress and isolation of the corona virus pandemic is taking a toll on everyone’s emotions. While NCOA urges older adults to follow physical isolation guidelines to remain physically healthy, it also offers tips for older adults, their caregivers, and families to use technology to stay in touch with loved ones and friends, and remain emotionally healthy as well.

Information provided by the NCOA.