Sep 30, 2009

- Five Ways to Simplify Your Life

Everywhere you look, it seems everyone and everything are moving at the speed of light (or faster). With so many commitments, roles, and obligations, it’s often hard to stay focused on what is most important to you, and your dreams fall by the wayside as a result. No matter what you do, you still need to find ways to free yourself from the chaos of daily life. Here are five simple ways to make your life less complicated right away.

1. With each potential task ask yourself, “Does this contribute to my goals?” If it doesn’t, simply don’t do it. Don’t waste time on efforts or projects (or even thoughts) that will only usurp time from your biggest priorities and dreams. You’ll be amazed when you see how much time you wasted on nonessential things.

2. Refuse to start making piles. Most of us have piles: piles of magazines; piles of mail; piles of recipes; and piles of piles. Get rid of your piles. Then, once you have, simply don’t allow yourself to create a new one. If you have anything you feel you may want to put it in a pile, either file it away or throw it away. Giving yourself only two options will free up time for more important things and free up space so you can think more clearly.

3. Keep your checkbook balanced. It only takes a few minutes every day, but the return on your investment is tremendous—you will have less stress and more confidence in yourself. If you have monetary goals, keeping your finances in focus and at-hand will make it easy for you to stay on track.

4. Say “no.” True, it is difficult for most people to say no, but it is the easiest way to simplify your life. Saying no returns authority back to you and clarifies your goals for others.

5. Give your solutions a chance. The pace of the world today may fool you into rushing into life changes when really, all you need to do is leave things alone for a little while for them to improve. It’s simpler (and smarter) to commit to a course of action in life and at work and let it fully play out—rather than panicking and changing your mind, direction, and goals constantly.

Sep 16, 2009

- An actor prepares

Getting read to ‘act’ in life is just the same as getting ready to act on stage, says Michael Neill. And the methods he learned in his actors’ training, including how to put more passion into your performance, have a lot to teach us on how to get up out of your seats, get on the boards, and get things done.
Getting read to ‘act’ in life is just the same as getting ready to act on stage, says Michael Neill. And the methods he learned in his actors’ training, including how to put more passion into your performance, have a lot to teach us on how to get up out of your seats, get on the boards, and get things done.
An actor prepares … and so does anybody else who wants to succeed!
PROLOGUE: Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how certain people manage to produce exceptional results in their lives, and to isolate and share the strategies and states which allow them to do that.
But NLP is not the only discipline interested in replicating human excellence, nor is it the first. For thousands of years, actors have been exploring the human psyche in an attempt both to instruct and inspire audiences, and to gain a greater understanding of what it is to be human.
One of the most important facets of actor training is preparation: the work done before acting in a role which allows you to commit your full attention on stage or screen to the task at hand. In this article, I will be sharing with you a selection of exercises from ‘actor training’ that will enhance and enrich your ability to prepare for any major or important real life event.
In order to make this as useful to you as possible, you might want to take a moment, now, to think about an upcoming event that is important to you – whether it is an interview, a meeting, a phone call, or even a decision that you have to make. And so, without further ado …
ACT ONE: Acting on Purpose
Here’s a little experiment for you to try. Imagine that somewhere nearby is hidden a priceless collection of diamonds. Your mission (objective/intention/outcome/goal) is ‘to get the diamonds’. Begin repeating the words `to get the diamonds’ over and over in your mind, like an affirmation or a mantra.
After a few moments of silent repetition, look up from the magazine, and begin scanning the room for a possible hiding place. If there are other people around you, they might stop you from achieving your outcome. Notice any thoughts that come into your mind as you continue repeating your silent mantra, `to get the diamonds, to get the diamonds, to get the diamonds …’
You may decide to put this magazine down, get up, and walk around for a minute or two, aware of how your thoughts, and perhaps even your persona, begin to change as you continue to repeat your outcome. I’ll see you in a minute …
Whatever you discovered as you went through that little experiment, you now have a reference for one of the ways in which an actor may create for himself or herself an alternative reality. Repeating your outcome over and over again in your mind automatically begins to generate thoughts which go to support or surround this outcome.
Actors (in Stanislayski’s method of acting) must always have a clear intention (outcome) on stage. These intentions, or objectives as they are sometimes called, are then made up of actions. The purpose of the rehearsal period is to experiment with different outcomes, actions, and emotions until the ones that work best have become second nature.
In performance, the actor can then trust his `unconscious competence’, and ‘play the moment’, re-acting to whatever is going on around him- or herself, ensuring that each performance will have its own personal effectiveness. The point of the preparation has been to be able to forget about it in the moment of action, and focus your full attention on the task at hand.
Here’s the strategy, in a nutshell:
1. Choose your outcome.
2. Decide some of the actions you could take that will lead to your outcome.
3. Choose what emotional state (or combination of states) you want to be in as you pursue your outcome.
4. Put yourself in the appropriate emotional state, rehearse going after your outcome, and make adjustments to your actions and feelings, until what works has become second nature to you.
(A more complete description of how to put yourself into an emotional state and mentally rehearse an important event is contained in `Act Two’ below.)
5. When it comes time to actually do what it is you set out to do, take a moment to review your preparation. Focus briefly again on your outcome and actions, and put yourself into an appropriate state of mind.
6. Do it!
And pay attention to what is going on around you, trusting that your preparation will cause you to do and say just the right thing to create your desired outcome.
If at any point your mind starts to wander, you can repeat your outcome in your mind, over and over, until you are refocused on the task at hand.
Releasing the Emotional Hostage.
When I was a teenager, I was playing the Puerto-Rican gang member ‘Chico’ in a production of West Side Story, the musical version of Romeo and Juliet. We had been doing the show for over a month, and I tended to just ‘go into automatic mode’, a sort of pleasant, day-dreaming trance that got me through the tedium of doing the same thing day in and day out (even if that ‘tedium’ was dancing in front of 1,000 people a night).
There’s a scene early on in West Side Story called the ‘Dance at the Gym’, where the two gangs assert their national pride by attempting to out-dance each other. It was great fun to do, involving much dancing, leaping about, and in the case of my Puerto-Rican gang, the repeated shouting of ‘Ay Caramba!’ and other assorted cod-Spanish ejaculations.
Two scenes later comes ‘The Rumble’, a darker dance, where the two gangs assert their masculinity by attempting to out-kill each other.
On this particular night, one of the members of the American gang, a character named `Snowball’, came out on stage and began to make fun of the way we had been dancing, in particular, mocking the shouts of ‘Ay Caramba!’ which had filled the air so joyously only moments before.
Suddenly, I felt a surge of very real emotion swelling up inside of me. I don’t know if you’ve ever been discriminated against because of your race, your gender, or your sexuality, or your class, but I was furious and was fully prepared to kill this ‘American pendejo‘ .
Now, one of the traits that most actors share is that, no matter how intense the situation, no matter how involved they are in what’s going on, a small part of their attention remains on the outside, monitoring internal and external reactions, and storing them away for future use.
(As a friend of mine was fond of saying whenever one of us would get upset, ‘Use it in your acting, dearie!’)
So, as part of me was preparing to rumble with the Americans, the actor part of me was having a conversation with myself in that moment which went something like this.. .
SELF: That pendejo, who does he think he is?!
ACTOR: Wait a minute, wait a minute, this is cool!
SELF: What do you mean, cool? Snowball is making fun of me, and everything I stand for!
ACTOR: No, he’s not. You’re not really Puerto-Rican. His name’s not Snowball, it’s Mike Dufault. And you guys are friends – it’s only make believe!
SELF: Then why does it feel so real?!
After the show that night, I was filled with excitement. My emotions were clearly more flexible than I had thought, because they had been so genuinely stirred by make-believecircumstances. If I could create emotional states within myself simply by repeatedly and vividly making believe that certain things were true, what would happen if I did the same thing off-stage, designing my emotional life to fit in with the circumstances I most wanted to create in my life?
One of the most fascinating of all actor skills, and probably the least understood, is the ability to create emotions ‘out of thin air’. In the sections below, I’ve laid out four of the different methods for doing this that I’ve come across in my own actor training. Again, I would encourage you to think about applying them in the context of that important event that’s coming up for you. Now …
ACT TWO: Emotional Mastery and …
There are two primary blocks to emotional mastery.
The first is physical tension. Any emotion is expressed through your physical body. When you’re tense, certain emotions find it difficult to come out and play. A good habit to get into is to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and relax. Become aware of:
- the sensations in your body, from head to toe;
- any images flashing through your mind;
- anything you might be saying to yourself, on the inside.
This ‘personal inventory’ is frequently taught on NLP courses as a means of increasing self-awareness, and has the useful side-effect of relaxing your mind and body.
The second block to experiencing emotions fully is the fear that, if you allow yourself to really feel an emotion ‘deeply’, you might get `swallowed up’ by it, and be unable to shake it off for hours, or even days.
Personally, I think this is one of the best reasons in the world to repress your feelings, and I would no more throw myself into a fit of rage. or sink myself into a morass of depression, without knowing I can get out of it easily than I would go technical rock climbing without a safety rope.
Fortunately, there is a very simple way to get yourself back from any emotional exploration. The classic NLP model for the structure of an emotional state is that it is made up of your physiology (or the way you use your body) and your internal representations (or the pictures, sounds, and words you say in your head).
In order to ‘break state’ after an emotional exploration, vigorously shake your body (changing the physiological element of the emotion), shake your head (clearing the mental screen of images), and `blurble’ your lips in a sort of a ‘raspberry’ sound, which will clear out all of your internal dialogue.
(Try telling yourself you’re a bad person while making a loud luting’ sound with your lips. It loses some of it’s emotional impact, doesn’t it?)
You might want to practise this ‘break state’ thing once or twice before reading on, and before you participate in the upcoming emotional experiments. Then again, depending on who you’re with. So, now …
.. How to Create an Emotional State
1. Affective Memory
This is one of the basic elements of so-called `Method acting’, and was one of the primary methods taught by the late Lee Strasberg, mentor to, amongst others, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, and Marilyn Monroe. It is taught on many NLP courses as ‘Contextual Hallucination’, or more prosaically, ‘Think of a time. . .
Affective memory is a naturally-occurring phenomenon that can be used consciously and unconsciously to make you happy, or to make you miserable. If you were to take a moment now to think of some past sad experience, you would probably begin to feel a little bit sad.
If, on the other hand, you think back to a funny experience, and really go right back to it in your mind, so that you’re seeing what you saw, and hearing what you heard, and feeling what you felt, you will probably begin to smile right now.
This process can be heightened by repetition, by ’stacking’ one funny memory – or `trigger’ – on top of another, and by making the images, sounds, and feelings of that memory more vivid. Involve your body in the memory, and you will find the feelings begin to intensify – for any emotion that you want to feel.
2. In the Beginning was the Word …
Another exercise for developing the facility of emotional choice is simply to notice that every word you can use to describe an emotional state has a corresponding location in the body.
So, take a deep breath and relax. Now, repeat the word ‘curiosity’ in your mind while tuning in to the sensations in your body. When you’ve got a sense of it, point to the place in your body where you most feel that word. With ‘curiosity’, most people will point to their heads, but your response will be unique to you.
Now, take a few moments with each of the following words: suspicion – anger – desire -love – joy. In my experience, most people will feel suspicion in their eyes, anger in their chests, desire in their loins, love in their hearts, and joy from their bellies through their upper body. Again, wherever you notice is the right answer for you.
Now, once you’ve tuned in to the specific location of an emotional state, you can intensify it by doing anything that raises your level of autonomic arousal, eg, by walking round the block, taking a few deep breaths, doing some push-ups, or by a couple of dynamic gestures.
With practice, you’ll be able to not only create these states at will, but to carry them around with you, to use in any situation you desire.
3. The Magic of As If’
Stanislayski, the godfather of 20th-century acting technique, considered the words ‘as if’ to be magic, and the key to unlocking the world of imagination. An application of the magic of ‘as if’ to your emotions is to act ‘as if’ you feel a certain way. This idea has been sometimes described as ‘using the tail to wag the dog’.
The following technique, long a mainstay of Stella Adler (she was Marlon Brando’s first acting teacher), is especially useful when you want to change your emotional state quickly. Simply by changing the way you sit, you can change the way you feel.
Let’s say you want to feel happy. Well, one thing you could do is to think back to a happy experience, but let’s pretend that you can’t think of any just at the moment.
So, how would you be sitting right now, if you were already happy? What kind of an expression would you have on your face?
How would you be breathing? In a nice, relaxed, gentle rhythm, or something more intense?
Answer these questions with your body -actually shift in your seat so that you are sitting and breathing, scowling or smiling, the way you imagine you would be if you were already happy.
If you want to feel even happier, go ahead and move around the room the way you think you would move if you were already feeling happy. (You can take this article with you!) How quickly or slowly do you move? What’s the feeling behind your eyes?
Go ahead and gesture in the way you imagine you would gesture if you were already feeling happy. If people are beginning to look at you strangely, what would you say to them if you were feeling ridiculously happy now? How would you say it? In a slow, low, growly voice, or a light, high, fluffy voice? Or somewhere in between? What kinds of things would you say to yourself? How would you say them?
4. Role Modelling. (A variation on the magic of ‘as if )
Sometimes, when an actor is just starting out in her or his training, she or he will find her-or himself unable to ‘let loose’ and experience emotions fully, particularly it in life, he or she is not especially expressive, a bit of a ‘low reactor’.
One useful technique for experiencing emotions beyond your normal range is to pretend that you are someone else, usually somebody famous, or a character in a book or film. (Anthony Hopkins claims to have based his Oscar-winning portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs on Margaret Thatcher – ‘A woman,’ he said, ‘who was so confident that she was right as to be bordering on the psychopathic.’)
Let’s now go back to your important situation, the one you chose at the beginning of the article. How would you need to feel in order to best do and express whatever it is you want to do and express in that situation?
Perhaps you’d like to feel more confident, more patient, or more loving. Think about someone who, for you, epitomizes the quality or qualities you would like to embody, and who could carry off the situation with ease and aplomb. [NLP Practitioners will spot the affinity here with one step of Dilts's 'New Behaviour Generator - Ed.]
Imagine that person is in the room with you right now. How do they look? What is it about the way that they move or speak that lets you know they are the way you would like to be? Shift your body so that you are standing or sitting like them. Gesture the way they would gesture.
What expression do you (they) have on your face? How do you look around the room? What sort of things might you (they) say to yourself? If you like, walk around the room as if you were your role model.
As an extension of this exercise, imagine that you are the director of a film based on your ideal life, and you have cast in the leading role the actor you would ideally like to play you. Coming up is the scene in the film where you make that phone call, or have that meeting, or whatever your important real-life situation is.
Imagine your role model acting in the scene, and pulling it off brilliantly. The phone call is a success, the meeting has gone better than you could possibly have expected, the situation is a success. Keep adjusting the scene until it’s perfect. (Don’t worry about your actor. He or she is used to constant rewrites, and any number of re-takes!)
When you’ve got it in your mind the way you want it, it’s time for the ‘understudy’ to rehearse the scene. Imagine that it is now you in the film, doing and saying the things that your ’star’ did. Perhaps there are one or two refinements you think of that your ’star’ left out. Rehearse the scene until you are completely happy with it, either in your home, or in the privacy of your own mind.
(In case you feel in any way daunted by the prospect of actually doing what seemed so delightful when your ’star’ did it, I offer you the advice Laurence Olivier gave his understudy, the young Albert Finney, before Finney took over from Olivier’s acclaimed performance as Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.
When Finney asked what to do about his pre-show nerves, Olivier replied, ‘Do what I do, dear boy. . . amaze yourself with your own daring!’)
ACT THREE: The Performance Itself
On the day of the actual event, you can simply review your preparation, and then improvise, trusting that the rehearsal time you have put in will be sufficient for your success. As with any performance, be prepared for things to go slightly different than they did in rehearsal.
And, as every actor discovers, sooner or later, you ultimately evaluate your performance not so much by how you felt while you were doing it, but by how you made your audience feel.

Sep 15, 2009

- H1N1: Just Another Flu?

(from recent  news reports)..

It has been five months since the A(H1N1) influenza virus -- aka the swine flu -- climbed to the top of the global media heap, and with the start of the Northern Hemisphere's annual flu season just around the corner, the topic is worth revisiting.

If you take only one fact away from this analysis, take this: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that hospitalization rates and mortality rates for A(H1N1) are similar to or lower than they are for more traditional influenza strains. And if you take two facts away, consider this as well: Influenza data are incomplete at best and rarely cross-comparable, so any assertions of the likelihood of mass deaths are little more than scaremongering bereft of any real analysis or, more important, any actual evidence.


There are a few key characteristics that differentiate this year's A(H1N1) strain from other influenza viruses. Most notable is the fact that the demographic normally associated with influenza vulnerability -- the elderly -- is considered at low risk from A(H1N1), and there has yet to be a single outbreak at any nursing home. Instead, the virus seems to have an affinity for the younger population, with higher infection rates than normal for those 24 years of age and younger, particularly those less than two years old and pregnant women. This higher incidence among the younger population could have a higher than normal disruptive impact on the labor force, when children and parents stay home from school and work. As a result of this new virus, the U.S. government has radically increased the pace of its vaccination program, and A(H1N1)-specific vaccinations will begin in October.

These differences, however, are not game changers. So, while the flu will pose a significant logistical and public relations challenge to governments seeking to prevent outbreaks and control the virus' spread, there is no indication that A(H1N1) will cause even a shadow of the disruption that the hysteria of months past suggested.

Most of that hysteria was rooted in the memory of the 1918 Spanish influenza. Although estimates vary widely -- remember that the world was in the fifth year of a grinding war when the epidemic hit, so bean-counting was not exactly high on the priority list -- most agree that between 50 million and 100 million people perished from the 1918 flu globally, including roughly 500,000 Americans.

The Spanish influenza was particularly frightening because it disproportionately struck down people in their prime -- adults in the 25-35 age cohort -- in addition to the very young and very old (the prime sufferers of traditional influenza viruses). Based on numbers reconstructed from that period, 28 percent of the American population contracted the Spanish influenza, of which 1.4 percent to 2.3 percent perished (or 0.39 percent to 0.65 percent of the population). The 1918-1920 influenza outbreak represents the only time during the 20th century when the U.S. population declined.

There are many unknowns about the A(H1N1) swine flu that are circulating around the world, but with five months of data to draw from, there are some clear manners in which A(H1N1) is not comparable to the 1918 Spanish flu.

Most notable is the mortality rate, or more to the point, the lack of a mortality rate. Global data is sketchy to say the least, but as of Sept. 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) had linked only 3,199 deaths globally to A(H1N1). In the United States, where data is more reliable, the figure is 593, a far cry from the 402,000 to 675,000 American deaths of the 1918 epidemic.

Within the United States, the data STRATFOR finds most complete comes from New York City, one of the most immediately impacted regions when A(H1N1) erupted in April. The city's health department estimates that 800,000 people -- 10 percent of the population -- contracted the virus in the early weeks of its spread. But so far only 930 required hospitalization and only 54 have died. 

Bottom line: While A(H1N1) is as communicable as the traditional flu strains, it has shown no inclination to be more deadly. In fact, from what can be discerned from the New York City data, the mortality rate lingers on the edge of the statistically insignificant -- a 0.00675 percent mortality rate among those contracting the virus, translating into a 0.00064 percent mortality rate among the general population.

Reporting the statistics like this is admittedly somewhat skewed. Any death tolls attributed to the A(H1N1) flu naturally cover only the period since A(H1N1) was identified in April. They do not cover the (as yet unfinished) year and obviously do not include any data about the upcoming Northern Hemisphere's annual flu season, which will undoubtedly result in many more flu-related deaths. Nor do the statistics include data from other influenza viruses.

More infections and deaths are sure to follow -- as winter sets in, the rate will increase. And there is always the chance that A(H1N1) will mutate into a more deadly strain -- in fact, this is precisely what occurred with the 1918 Spanish influenza virus. But, at present, neither the WHO nor the CDC appears to suspect that A(H1N1) is any more deadly than any other seasonal flu.

The critical factor to bear in mind is that all strains of influenza claim thousands of lives every year. In the United States, on average, some 36,000 people die of flu every year - 1,100 in New York alone. Globally, deaths related to influenza are estimated to range from 250,000 to 500,000 people per year. So far this year, only about 3,000 people have died worldwide in relation to the A(H1N1) outbreak, and most of those deaths occurred during the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere. From a statistical perspective, at present, A(H1N1) nearly falls into the range of background noise


Sep 11, 2009

- You Can't Always Get What You Want, But...

"You can't always get what you want...but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need." The Rolling Stones had it right all these many years ago. With all the chatter about The Law of Attraction...some people are feeling frustrated...especially in this economy.
They are setting intentions for what they want and are expecting to see the results of manifestation. Some people feel impatient, some feel like they didn't do it right. Some people are just plain confused about the process and others tend to give up.
'The Secret' encourages us to put up pictures of the car or house that we want. We keep looking at the pictures envisioning ourselves driving that beautiful car or in the counting house counting all our money. But like attracts like. If our belief systems support old ideas that we really can't do it or we really aren't good enough to receive it then we have a problem.
Our conflicted energy in the present moment will not support the dynamic of manifestation.
Or just, maybe, our soul energy capacity of self-awareness is not interested in the experience of having a new car right now. We decide that we want what we want and it doesn't appear. What is up with that? When we trust in our Inner Essence or our Higher Consciousness or whatever we call it.....we trust that what we need in order to grow is what we get.
 Have you ever thought that you really really wanted a certain job? You thought it was perfect for you and you dreamed about it and knew you would be happy there. You rocked the interview and just waited for your phone to ring with the good news. But your phone didn't ring... someone else got the call. It wasn't you. And you grieved and maybe whined just a little bit to your friends. Or maybe it was a relationship that didn't manifest, or a move that didn't work out, or a house deal that fell through.
Now in retrospect, as we look back on those events , we can usually see why that particular job, relationship, etc. was not in our best interest. Perhaps the job was in a location that wouldn't have allowed us to grow and meet people that were important for our development. Perhaps the coworkers or boss were not appropriate for the lessons we needed to learn in that stage of our life. Maybe the person we were so crazy over to be in relationship was not the person that would have brought us the greatest growth necessary at that time. Maybe our primary relationship needed to be with ourselves at the time. But we couldn't see it or didn't want to see it that way.
Our soul is us as our unlimited potential, our capacity for self-awareness. When we think we know more than our soul does, we are living in our egocentric self with a limited perspective that revolves around the 'me'. When we can transform that lower energy of the ego into the higher energy of the Self then we are more in tune with our higher guidance. We know the peaceful vibration of that higher energy and we instantly know what is right.
We learn, over time, to trust our soul's guidance. Every thing that appears in our lives is for our growth into a higher sense of wholeness. We may not like it but if we can learn to accept whatever it is...we create the space for growth instead of resistance. Buddha said whatever we resist, persists. Mick Jagger suggests that when we don't get what we want, we can rest assured that we will get what we need in order to grow. Everything is just as it needs to be for our evolution into the higher planes of heart space. All is well when we rest in the peace of what is. Our inner awareness guides us in the realization that we are already here.

Sep 10, 2009

- People Unable to Recognize Conversational Postulates

I have difficulty in my communication and building rapport with an associate that seems to have the following characteristics:

1.) Unable to recognize many conversational postulates
2.) Rigid opinions and at times seems obsessive about details
3.) a very moody and anxious person

I have noticed that this individual is not able to go on with the conversation when a "confusing" postulate is used. It also results in frustration and loss of rapport whenever one is used. 
Has anyone else come across someone that shares these characteristics? 
I've heard of children being unable to recognize postulates but this is an adult. I am trying to not use them in conversations with that person, but this seems to also frustrate the individual and in social settings they seem to creep out others by their displays of frustration whenever this occurs. 
When this occurs it tends to feed the anxiety of the individual and make the individual even more rigid and the group even more awkward. It creates a weird social dynamic for everyone around as well. 

Sep 9, 2009

- Green tea extract - Polyphenon E - may fight prostate cancer

Published June 19th, 2009 in General Interest, Health, Health News, Medical News, Nutrition, Polyphenols, Popular - According to results of a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, men with prostate cancer who consumed the active compounds in a green tea extract demonstrated a significant reduction in serum markers predictive of prostate cancer progression.

“The investigational agent used in the trial, Polyphenon E (provided by Polyphenon Pharma), may have the potential to lower the incidence and slow the progression of prostate cancer,” said James A. Cardelli, Ph.D., professor and director of basic and translational research in the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport.

Green tea is the second most popular drink in the world, and some epidemiological studies have shown health benefits with green tea, including a reduced incidence of prostate cancer, according to Cardelli. However, some human trials have found contradictory results. The few trials conducted to date have evaluated the clinical efficacy of green tea consumption and few studies have evaluated the change in biomarkers, which might predict disease progression.

Cardelli and colleagues conducted this open-label, single-arm, phase II clinical trial to determine the effects of short-term supplementation with green tea’s active compounds on serum biomarkers in patients with prostate cancer. The biomarkers include hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and prostate specific antigen (PSA). HGF and VEGF are good prognostic indicators of metastatic disease.
The study included 26 men, aged 41 to 72 years, diagnosed with prostate cancer and scheduled for radical prostatectomy. Patients consumed four capsules containing Polyphenon E until the day before surgery - four capsules are equivalent to about 12 cups of normally brewed concentrated green tea, according to Cardelli. The time of study for 25 of the 26 patients ranged from 12 days to 73 days, with a median time of 34.5 days.
Findings showed a significant reduction in serum levels of HGF, VEGF and PSA after treatment, with some patients demonstrating reductions in levels of greater than 30 percent, according to the researchers.
Cardelli and colleagues found that other biomarkers were also positively affected. There were only a few reported side effects associated with this study, and liver function remained normal.

Results of a recent year-long clinical trial conduced by researchers in Italy demonstrated that consumption of green tea polyphenols reduced the risk of developing prostate cancer in men with high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN).

“These studies are just the beginning and a lot of work remains to be done, however, we think that the use of tea polyphenols alone or in combination with other compounds currently used for cancer therapy should be explored as an approach to prevent cancer progression and recurrence,” Cardelli said.
William G. Nelson, V., M.D., Ph.D., professor of oncology, urology and pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, believes the reduced serum biomarkers of prostate cancer may be attributable to some sort of benefit relating to green tea components, most of which are catechins or polyphenols.

“Unfortunately, this trial was not a randomized trial, which would have been needed to be more sure that the observed changes were truly attributable to the green tea components and not to some other lifestyle change (better diet, taking vitamins, etc.) men undertook in preparation for surgery,” added Nelson, who is also a senior editor for Cancer Prevention Research. However, “this trial is provocative enough to consider a more substantial randomized trial.”

In collaboration with Columbia University in New York City, the researchers are currently conducting a comparable trial among patients with breast cancer. They also plan to conduct further studies to identify the factors that could explain why some patients responded more dramatically to Polyphenon E than others. Cardelli suggested that additional controlled clinical trials should be done to see if combinations of different plant polyphenols were more effective than Polyphenon E alone.

“There is reasonably good evidence that many cancers are preventable, and our studies using plant-derived substances support the idea that plant compounds found in a healthy diet can play a role in preventing cancer development and progression,” said Cardelli.

Sep 1, 2009

- Green tea extract (polyphenone) Phase 2, shows promise

Phase II management of papulopustular rosacea with 2% green tea extract (-EGCg) in a hydrophilic cream: A placebo-controlled, double-blind study, Tanweer Syed, MD, PhD, San Francisco, CA, United States; Seyed Ahmad, University of California, Berkeley, CA, United States; Amit Bhakhri, University of California, San Francisco, CA, United States

Objective: We sought to evaluate the clinical efficacy, tolerability, safety, and beneficial effects of 2% polyphenone (-EGCg, epigallocatechin gallate) incorporated in a hydrophilic cream to treat and manage papulopustular rosacea.

Methods: Preselected subjects (N = 100; 37 men/63 women) aged 25 to 50 years having visible signs of papules/pustules were sequentially randomized into two parallel groups. An identical precoded tube containing 50 g (either active drug or placebo) was allocated to each subject with instructions on how to topically apply the trial cream 2 times a day for 4 weeks. Cure was defined as absence of complete clinical signs of treated inflammation. Photographic and optical techniques were used both at baseline and on a weekly basis.

Results: By the end of the study, marked beneficial improvement was observed in both groups. Breaking the code revealed that 2% polyphenone in a hydrophilic cream yielded statistically significantly higher reduction in mean inflammatory lesion count than placebo. The most frequently assessed signs of rosacea were papules/pustules (38), erythema (34), and telangiectasia (28). Using the Investigator’s Global Assessment, therapeutic success in terms of a clear, minimal, or mild result was documented in 72% of patients treated with 2% polyphenone (-EGCg) cream (P <.0001).

Conclusion: The study substantiates that 2% polyphenone (-EGCg) in a hydrophilic cream is safe, tolerable, and significantly more beneficial in contributing superior clinical efficacy than placebo in the treatment and management of papulopustular rosacea.

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