UAMS Student Wellness Program


Healthy nutrition is a vital component of wellness. What we eat plays an important role in physical and emotional health. For those of us in the health professions, this is even more important because we bear responsibility for educating our patients on healthy nutrition.

Chronic diseases – including heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Arkansas has the sixth highest obesity rate in the US at 34.5 percent. There is a large body of evidence implicating diet and lifestyle as major contributing factors; factors that can be modified. There is also a growing body of evidence and interest in the role of food and diet in the management of chronic diseases. Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. While our students are taught about the importance of diet and its impact on various diseases, these topics are usually presented in an ad hoc manner depending on the disease or system that is being covered. Our goal is to provide the future health care providers of Arkansas with an integrated overview of the importance of nutritional wellness to foster their interest in this topic. Armed with this knowledge, they can utilize a more holistic approach to correct imbalances that underlie chronic diseases.

Group posing in kitchenWith this in mind, the SWP has been promoting nutritional wellness through cooking lessons for our medical students at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute of Arkansas (Culinary Institute), Little Rock under the guidance of Dr. Meenaskhi Budhraja since Fall of 2017. In addition to learning about healthy nutrition, these lessons provide a wonderful venue for socialization, team building, de-stressing, and developing an interest in cooking; something that the SWP would also like to promote. The SWP obtained a grant from the Medical Education Foundation of Arkansas (MEFFA) to support this activity this year. The MEFFA funds were used to introduce medical students to the concept of culinary medicine (“Food as Medicine”) through a “hands on” three-hour cooking session where they prepared a healthy meal at the Culinary Institute. We have held four separate cooking lessons with 25 participants each for a total of 100 this fall. From the feedback and evaluations, students have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, reporting how it has expanded their awareness of healthy nutrition and that healthy food does taste good. They reported a better understanding of the importance of nutrition for their own wellness as well as the joy of cooking.

While these lessons were largely focused for medical students, the SWP held a separate cooking lesson with a theme of the “Kitchen Pharmacy” for the Student Leadership Council of the College of Pharmacy with the gracious support of Dr. Schwanda Flowers, Associate Dean. The feedback from this event was also very enthusiastic. For the coming year, the SWP plans to explore funding opportunities to expand this program to students from the other UAMS colleges. (See photos below)

Dr. Meenakshi BuddhrajaDr. Meenakshi Buddhraja is a gastroenterologist practicing in Little Rock for over 25 years, and over the last 10 years has been actively involved in promoting healthy nutrition in the community. She is an honorary faculty at the Culinary Institute where she teaches a course on healthy nutrition to culinary students. Over the past two years, Dr. Buddhraja in collaboration with the medical student led Integrative Medicine Interest Group has been offering these ‘hands on’ immersive classes specifically designed for our medical students.  Dr. Buddhraja and her nutritionist give didactic lectures.  She schedules the cooking lessons at the Culinary Institute. Students (n=25 at a time) who have signed up present to the facility at the designated time.  There is a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation about healthy nutrition. Dr. Buddhraja and her team have menus with written recipes for a healthy, nutritious meal, and the required ingredients, spices, and condiments ready in each cooking station. She provides general instructions about the menu and the dietary benefits. The students break out into groups, go to the cooking station of their choice, and start preparing the dishes. Dr. Buddhraja, her nutritionist, and other members of her team supervise and provide necessary guidance to the students as they prepare the food. When all the dishes are prepared, the students gather together for a moment of mindfulness and share the meal together. The feedback from participating students has been universally positive.

Continue reading here: Nutritional Wellness – Student Wellness

Moving Medicine Forward | PlantPure Communities |Dr. Michael A. Klaper

Join Dr. Klaper and PlantPure Communities in awakening tomorrow’s young physicians to the power of plant-based healing.  

All who seek to heal — patients and practitioners alike — must start with the reality that our daily food choices can either foster good health or spawn dangerous diseases. Yet, most Western-trained physicians practice medicine as if what our patients are eating has no effect upon the diseases they seek to cure. Why is the power of applied nutrition not being taught in medical schools to our young physicians?

You can help us remedy this archaic omission in medical education. After a lengthy career in clinical medicine, Dr. Klaper (see his bio here) is excited to announce that together with PlantPure Communities (PPC), the Moving Medicine Forward initiative is bringing the revolutionary ideas of disease reversal through plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine to medical schools across the country.

Moving Medicine Forward, a Dr. Klaper and PlantPure Communities Medical School Nutrition Education Initiative, will change the way future doctors treat their patients, which will improve the health of future generations — and you can help!

Your donation will power four aspects of the Initiative aimed to foster the nutritional awakening of Western medicine, including:

  • Research —to clarify the current and planned programs across the country, learning what’s working and what’s needed to make applied nutrition part of every medical school curriculum.
  • Creation of Medical School Nutrition Courses — to establish a core curriculum to teach medical students about the power of nutrition to prevent and reverse disease.
  • Creation of Toolkits for Student Leaders — a collection of online resources, insights and strategies to empower nutritionally-aware students and encourage networking with like-minded professionals in their community and worldwide.
  • Dr. Klaper’s live presentations at medical schools throughout North America on the power of the patient’s diet to either cause or reverse diseases  and the promotion of Nutrition Interest Groups at each school, where the practical uses of applied nutrition are explored weekly through clinical rounds, Skype presentations, journal clubs, etc.
  • … and, surely, much more, as bright energetic medical students become involved and contribute their own experiences and ideas!

This Initiative is created through partnership between Dr. Klaper and PlantPure Communities (PPC), the 501c3 nonprofit organization founded by Nelson Campbell, son of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study. PPC will be providing administrative, organizational and strategic support to make these efforts even more effective.

Together — and with your help — we can change the way our medical system treats patients, transforming it from a system of disease-care to one of true health-care. Stay up to date with this Initiative by following Dr. Klaper on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and click here to make a donation to help us awaken Western medicine to the importance of nutrition.

Do you know a medical student or a faculty member at a medical school who would like to have Dr. Klaper come and speak and/or start a Nutrition Interest Group at their school? If so, click HERE.

Source: Moving Medicine Forward | PlantPure Communities

Facebook Vegan Dinner Club – Recipe Share

Hello, and welcome! This group is for you to freely post any vegan recipe you make at home want to share. Only a few rules apply:

1. Share photos WITH the recipe(s). Posts without recipes will be deleted.

2. Give credit where it’s due – if it’s not your own creation, please credit the person who made it.

3. This group is just for recipes made at home. No posts about vegan restaurants or restaurant events. Please share those on Vegan Dinner Club – Little Rock.

4. Recipes MUST be vegan. If you share a link to a recipe that does have animal products that can be omitted or substituted, please indicate that in your post.

That’s it! Have fun posting all the yummy vegan recipes!

Mindfulness meditation alters neurophysiological characteristics that are linked to anxiety and depression

Source: Mindfulness meditation alters neurophysiological characteristics that are linked to anxiety and depression

Mindfulness meditation training is associated with changes in resting-state brain activity, according to new research conducted with elementary school students. The study, published in the Journal of Psychophysiology, provides new insights into why mindfulness meditation could be effective in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“Our interest in the topic primarily resulted from a desire to identify alternative methods for attenuating anxiety and depression during preadolescence, a stage of development where children are particularly susceptible to internalizing symptoms due to increased social demands and a lack of psychological and neurological maturity to effectively cope with such demands,” said study author Nancy Aaron Jones an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University and director of the WAVES Emotion Lab.

“Children in this age-range have traditionally shown less responsiveness to traditional treatments such as medication and talk therapy compared to adults, and therefore we wanted to evaluate the potential of mindfulness meditation intervention in reducing neurological symptoms of anxiety in this age range and serving as a protective factor against later development of disorders.

“A second goal was to further understand the relationship between internalizing behavioral symptoms and resting-state brain activity measures in children of different age-ranges. This knowledge is valuable for understanding how the neurological mechanisms involved in anxiety and depression may fluctuate as a function of age.”

The researchers examined the impact of a mindfulness meditation training program on 66 elementary school students. The mindfulness meditation program occurred in class for 15 minutes once per day for 10 weeks.

The students completed self-reported assessments of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and mood before and after the mindfulness training program. The researchers also recorded the students’ electrical brain activity before and after the program.

Jones and her colleagues found that self-reported depression scores declined after the mindfulness meditation training program. Using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, the researchers also found that the program was associated with alterations in brainwave activity.

In particular, they observed increases in EEG alpha wave coherence throughout the entire cortex. The researchers also observed increases in theta, alpha, and beta power in the frontal and central areas of the brain.

“We hope that this study will shed light on the potential of mindfulness meditation to serve as a buffer against anxiety development in children by demonstrating that a daily mindfulness training program significantly altered neurophysiological characteristics that signify risk for anxiety and depression, namely frontal and central power as well as frontal and parietal coherence were increased following the training,” Jones explained to PsyPost.

“In the broader scope, we hope that parents, teachers, and superintendents concerned with the mental health of children recognize the helpfulness of short duration daily exercises for reducing stress, such as physical activity, music/art, or mindfulness meditation.”

However, two common EEG measures linked to anxiety remained largely unchanged.

“A major caveat of this study is that the participants were not formally diagnosed with anxiety or depression and therefore, we can not conclude that the same results would occur with clinical participants,” Jones said.

“In addition, we did not include a control group, which leaves open the possibility that other factors may have led to the reduced neurophysiological risk for anxiety in the preadolescent participants.”

“Additionally, the long-term effects of mindfulness are less well-understood, so future studies should evaluate the effects of mindfulness longitudinally with multiple time points at different stages of development. We feel one possibility is that mindfulness reduces anxiety by increasing cognitive control so it would be interesting to directly test that mediation factor,” Jones explained.

“We hope that this study and others will shed light on the appropriateness and effectiveness of short-duration mindfulness meditation training for school-wide implementation. In addition to lowering anxiety, mindfulness may strengthen cognitive skills that are beneficial for school performance.”

The study, “Mindfulness Meditation Intervention Alters Neurophysiological Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Preadolescents“, was authored by Nathaniel A. Shanok, Carol Reive, Krystal D. Mize, and Nancy Aaron Jones.

Journal of the American Heart Association: Plant‐Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All‐Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle‐Aged Adults

Journal of the American Heart Association. 2019;8



Previous studies have documented the cardiometabolic health benefits of plant‐based diets; however, these studies were conducted in selected study populations that had narrow generalizability.

Methods and Results

We used data from a community‐based cohort of middle‐aged adults (n=12 168) in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study who were followed up from 1987 through 2016. Participants’ diet was classified using 4 diet indexes. In the overall plant‐based diet index and provegetarian diet index, higher intakes of all or selected plant foods received higher scores; in the healthy plant‐based diet index, higher intakes of only the healthy plant foods received higher scores; in the less healthy plant‐based diet index, higher intakes of only the less healthy plant foods received higher scores. In all indexes, higher intakes of animal foods received lower scores. Results from Cox proportional hazards models showed that participants in the highest versus lowest quintile for adherence to overall plant‐based diet index or provegetarian diet had a 16%, 31% to 32%, and 18% to 25% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all‐cause mortality, respectively, after adjusting for important confounders (all P<0.05 for trend). Higher adherence to a healthy plant‐based diet index was associated with a 19% and 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and all‐cause mortality, respectively, but not incident cardiovascular disease (P<0.05 for trend). No associations were observed between the less healthy plant‐based diet index and the outcomes.


Diets higher in plant foods and lower in animal foods were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in a general population.

Continue reading here: .


Scientific Publications Show EMF’s Affect Living Organisms At Levels Well Below National Guidelines

Scientific Publications Show EMF’s Affect Living Organisms At Levels Well Below National Guidelines by Theodora Scarato

Theodora Scarato directs EHT programs and coordinates scientific programs in the US and internationally with EHTs Senior Science Advisors. Scarato is lead policy analyst and researcher for the EHT database on international actions– the most comprehensive collection of information on policy actions on cell phones and wireless. She previously worked with EHT as Director of Educational Resources and Public Affairs, developing educational resources for communities and governments.

She has co-founded several organizations both locally and nationally that address environmental health and safety concerns. As a practicing clinical psychotherapist, her two decades of work with children and adolescents includes directing an intensive special education therapy program in Montgomery County Schools and working a psychotherapist at an ADHD clinic. Her research interests include not only the effects from radiation exposures but also the social emotional effects of technology overuse.

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