In The World—April 30, 2017

April 30, 2017 No Comments »
In The World—April 30, 2017

By Lindsey Bell

Depression as Damaging to the Heart as Cholesterol and Obesity

A study found that depression is as damaging to the heart as high cholesterol and obesity. The researchers knew beforehand that four factors greatly increased a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease: smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity. They didn’t know how much depression would contribute. They studied 3,428 male patients for 10 years. They found that depression is a factor in about 15 percent of heart-ailment-related deaths.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from depression. Because of the vast amount of people suffering from this mental ailment, researchers are now recommending that doctors test for depression among high-risk heart patients.

New Project Gives a Unique Voice to Those Unable to Speak

Rupal Patel, a speech scientist, shared with NBC Nightly News about a new project that gives unique voices to individuals who are unable to speak and therefore use computers to communicate.

Before this project, every person using a computer to communicate sounded the same: like a robot. But this project gives each individual a unique voice, specific only to him or her.

The project combines any sounds individuals are able to make with other donated voices. Seventh grade students in California participated in the project by recording 3,000 sentences to be added to the Human Voice Bank. The bank currently holds 19,000 voices from around the world.

One child with cerebral palsy, 8-year-old Leo True-Frost, upon receiving the new device, excitedly told NBC Nightly News in a childlike voice that sounded much like his own, “Guess what? I have a new voice today.”

American Pastors Older Than They Used to Be

Twenty-five years ago, the average age of a Protestant senior pastor was 44. Now it’s 54. According to Barna Group’s 2017 State of Pastors project, only 1 in 7 senior pastors is under the age of 40.

There are both benefits and challenges to this reality. On one hand, older pastors might have more flexibility because they no longer have children at home. Many of them also feel more called to ministry the longer they serve. Most claim to love their jobs. On the other hand, some older pastors struggle to connect with younger generations.

One Tweet Leads to Thousands of Donations

Ashley C. Ford, a writer living in New York, saw a problem in local school cafeterias and wanted to help. She noticed there were far too many children with unpaid lunch debts.

Ford asked her 66,000 Twitter followers to pay the overdue lunch accounts of children in their regions. Within two months of her tweet, individuals all over the country donated thousands of dollars to their local schools.

Kristina Arwood, a resident from Evansville, Indiana, who helped raise $20,000 to pay off lunch debts in her area, told CBS News, “It really hit home for me. . . . I grew up on free and reduced-price lunches, but even that 40 cents was hard to get together with four kids. There were times I wouldn’t eat because I didn’t have money and didn’t want to be labeled as the poor kid.”

Most schools allow students to build a tab for a certain number of days if they don’t have enough money in their accounts. Others offer alternate meals. Schools also provide free or reduced lunches to low-income families. However, some families who qualify for reduced lunches still struggle to provide the 40 cents per day. Others fail to complete the paperwork necessary for their child to receive low-cost meals.

Lindsey Bell is an author and speaker living in Southwest Missouri with her husband, Keith, and their two children (

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