Tuesday, October 28, 2008

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Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances

Monday, October 27, 2008 Mark Lassiter, Press Officer 410-965-8904

For Immediate Release

News Release

Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances
Process Will Fast Track Applications For People with Cancers and Rare Diseases

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the national rollout of the agency’s Compassionate Allowances initiative, a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards.

“Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do,” Commissioner Astrue said. “This initiative will allow us to make decisions on these cases in a matter of days, rather than months or years.”

Social Security is launching this expedited decision process with a total of 50 conditions. Over time, more diseases and conditions will be added. A list of the first 50 impairments -- 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers -- can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Before announcing this initiative, Social Security held public hearings to receive information from experts on rare diseases and cancers. The agency also enlisted the assistance of the National Institutes of Health.

Compassionate Allowances is the second piece of the agency’s two-track, fast-track system for certain disability claims. When combined with the agency’s Quick Disability Determination process, and once fully implemented, this two-track system could result in six to nine percent of disability claims, the cases for as much as a quarter million people, being decided in an average of six to eight days.

"This is an outstanding achievement for the Social Security Administration," said Peter Saltonstall, President of the National Organization for Rare Disorders. "It has taken Social Security less than a year to develop this much-needed program that will benefit those whose claims merit expedited consideration based on the nature of their disease. Disability backlogs cause a hardship for patients and their families. Commissioner Astrue and his staff deserve our thanks for a job well done.”

“Unfortunately, many hardworking people with cancer may not only face intensive treatment to save their lives, but they may also find themselves truly unable to perform their daily work-related activities and as result, may face serious financial concerns, such as the loss of income and the cost of treatment,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program will help streamline the disability benefits application process so that benefits are quickly provided to those who need them most.”

“This is America, and it simply is not acceptable for people to wait years for a final decision on a disability claim,” Commissioner Astrue said. “I am committed to a process that is as fair and speedy as possible. The launch of Compassionate Allowances is another step to ensuring Americans with disabilities, especially those with certain cancers and rare diseases, get the benefits they need quickly.”

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SSA Press Office 440 Altmeyer Building 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Friday, October 24, 2008

Medical science has just discovered the nasal cycle, known to yogis for thousands of years. The first mention in the western hemisphere of a lateralized periodic process was in the work by Dr. R.German rhinologist, in 1895. Dr Kayser found what resembled a periodic rhythm of nostril passage. Dr Kayser suggested that laterality of nostril dominance was part of a larger schema where one lateral side of the body was somehow innervated or de-innervated. Prior to 1895, the Aryan descendants in the Indus valley studied the nasal cycle (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, trans. 1893; Iyengar, 1988). They not only took note of the process, but also had enlarged upon Dr Kayser's theory of lateral innervation.

The doctrine of collateral activation was taken a bit farther by the ancient sages, to include arousal of the brain hemispheres. Yogic sages thought that forced lateralized breathing through one nostril, would effect a selective activation of one brain hemisphere over another. It would appear that nostril dominance originates from the brain itself.



The nasal cycle is an ultradian rhythm involving alternating breathing of the left and right nostrils,. It is known to have a cycle of two to eight hours (Keuning, 1968; Shannahoff-Khalsa, 1991). The nasal cycle is controlled by sympathetic/parasympathetic innervation of the nasal mucosa. When sympathetic activity to one side dominates, the result is vaso-constriction and thus decongestion on that side, while the enhanced parasympathetic activity on the other side simultaneously results in congestion (Keuning, 1968; Stocksted, 1953). Hence while the nasal cycle is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, it in turn influences the autonomic nervous system mechanism

Researchers at Nepal Medical College in Kathmandu measured the physiological effects of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana ). They found significant increases in peak expiratory flow rate (exhale) and pulse pressure and decreases in heart rate, respiratory rate, and diastolic blood pressure.

There is no doubt that alternate nostril breathing can be a powerful way to quickly relax the nervous system, shifting the balance from sympathetic side to the more restorative parasympathetic. By slowing the breath, lengthening the exhalation, and pausing briefly after the exhalation, all tend to shift the balance towards the parasympathetic side.

In other words regular practice of alternate nostril breathing increases parasympathetic activity.
Yoga Journal's medical Editor, Dr Timothy McCall talks about this in Part two of a three part series on "Yoga for chronic Pain"

This is something I have been doing since first being diagnosed with RSD back in 2003. At first when I was diagnosed with full body RSD I wasn't all that thrilled about this exercise, but knew it was absolutely the best thing I could do to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system into communicating with my brain. See, what happens is one nostril works on the sympathetic nervous system and the other the parasympathetic nervous system. There is a cycle of about 3 hours or so where they switch sides so that the side that was sympathetic became parasympathetic and so on. This style of breathing is very helpful for those of us who have a disturbance of the sympathetic nervous. WHY? Because this style of breathing helps to bring about balance. In so doing, it's calming and calming reduces stress which lessens the perception of pain.

So I persevered and I continue to use this method today. I also recommend it to my Coaching Clients so they can get the benefits of how it calms and reduces pain as early as possible, but it's never too late!

If you are in need of my Coaching services or just curious about me, click link to discover why I am a Coach: "A Winning Life With RSD"