THE Premier Music School in Central Bucks County

Check out the Music Nation Academy.  If you want your children to get that added extra help to achieve their musical goals, MNA is the place to go!


Give them a call with your questions at 215-340-3908, or email them at

Robin Coppinger
Bucks County Women’s Journal
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Integrative Rheumatology

Window of Opportunity for the Big “O”

By: Farhan Tahir MD,

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder of compromised strength as a result of poor quality of bone and increased risk for fracture. Osteoporosis is linked to high risk of fractures causing pain and permanent disability. Avoiding osteoporosis requires proactive preventive strategies, an active lifestyle, and anti-inflammatory nutrition.

More than 10 million people in United States have osteoporosis, and more than 2 million osteoporotic fractures occur each year. Women have a higher risk of fractures than men, and 75% of fractures affect women; however, men are at a greater risk of dying of a hip fractures. Diagnosis of osteoporosis involves the use of DEXA scans, which assess bone mineral density, but they do not assess bone quality. It is estimated that about 47% of women over 50 have low bone density.

Risk factors
A Women’s Health Initiative study found that the following risk factors play a major role in osteoporosis: age above 50, weight, height, race, ethnicity, physical activity, history of fracture, parents with hip fracture, smoking, chronic inflammation, and corticosteroid use as well as history of rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, celiac disease, and diabetes.

Pharmacological treatment
There are many treatment options available for patients with osteoporosis, including estrogen hormone replacement, bisphosphonates, selective estrogen receptor modulators, calcitonin, and strontium, to mention a few. Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Reclast belong to class of drugs called bisphosphonates. In recent years, new medications like Prolia and Forteo have been approved. All medications have scientifically proven benefits, but they also can have side effects. Therefore, a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider is important to inquire about your need for osteoporosis early detection, preventive steps to take, and choice of medications.

Attaining a high peak bone mass between the ages of 30 and 50 is an important factor in preventing osteoporosis, and studies show that women with a diet adequate in calcium, vitamin D, and proteins along with an active lifestyle during adolescence and young adulthood have less risk of developing osteoporosis.

The substances that are harmful to bone health include excessive amounts of vitamin A, caffeine, sodium, and an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus. Smoking and excess alcohol are also linked to increased risk of osteoporosis-related fractures and complications.

Nutritional supplements
The following supplements have been studied extensively for their proven role in building and maintaining healthy bones.

Calcium is important, and, to get about 300 mg of calcium, you will need 8 oz. of milk or yogurt or 1 oz. of Cheddar, Swiss or Monterey Jack cheeses. Nondairy calcium sources include 1 oz. of white beans, 1/2 cup of spinach or turnips greens, 1/2 cup of cooked or fresh broccoli or bok choy, 1/2 cup of soybeans, or 1 oz. of dry-roasted almonds. Salmon and dried figs are also good sources.

Which calcium type is the best-Calcium carbonate should be taken with meals and is less expensive. It provides 40% elemental calcium. Calcium citrate is expensive but has some advantages; it is well absorbed and can be taken with or without meals. If you are on medication to reduce stomach acids, this is the best form. Calcium citrate provides 21% elemental calcium. Calcium from sources like dolomite, oyster shell, or coral are not recommended.

How to take it-Large tablets may be difficult to swallow and may not absorb or disintegrate in the stomach, so calcium in powders, capsules, and liquids is better.

How much to take-Remember that calcium supplements should not exceed 500 mg at any one time. You should avoid taking calcium supplements along with psyllium or with foods high in oxalic acid (e.g., spinach) or phytic acid (e.g., wheat bran).

Vitamin D—the sunshine vitamin
Over the last decade, there has been enormous advancement in research about vitamin D. Active forms of vitamin D improve transport of calcium across the intestinal system. Vitamin D also stimulates the absorption of other minerals such as phosphate and magnesium. Vitamin D and K stimulate bone mineralization.

It is not a secret that Vitamin D deficiency is widespread throughout North America. Studies have found that women, older adults, obese and dark-skinned individuals, and breast-fed infants are at higher risk. An international study found that 64% of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis have low vitamin D (less than 30 ng/mL level). It makes sense to supplement with vitamin D at doses of 400-800 units/day. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce fracture risk and the chance of falls and to improve leg function in older adults.

Vitamin D supplementation doses
Normal dosing of vitamin D depends on your blood levels. After you have discussed this with your healthcare provider, a treatment dose ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 units per day will be recommended. If you are already taking vitamin D, add calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K.

How much is too much-It is very difficult to get too much vitamin D, but regular monitoring is required. People with sarcoidosis, lymphoma, or kidney disease have to monitor their vitamin D levels to ensure they don’t rise too high.

2014-06-04_10-07-50About the author: Dr. Farhan Tahir, MD is board certified through the American Board of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Integrative & Holistic Medicine. He is a member of the American College of Rheumatology and founder of Pennsylvania’s first and only integrative rheumatology practice. He lives in Bucks County with his wife and three young boys. To contact Rheumatology Care Consultants, PLLC,
call 267-685-6070 or email: Its website is http://www.RheumPA.



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The Gift of Yoga

2014-05-08_15-41-03Rebecca Dawson, Director of Yoga-cise in Quakertown, explains, ‘What is yoga and is it right for me?’

Yoga means union or yoke—the joining of body, mind, and spirit. Yoga is not a religion but a philosophical way of looking at life. Yoga is beneficial for everyone.

Many people come to yoga to gain endurance, to lose weight, and to strengthen muscles, yet yoga offers much more.   Yoga is a gift that takes us on a journey of subtle awareness into mind, body, and spirit, and here the transformation begins.  Yoga works toward bringing us back into a state of homeostasis.  Yoga brings awareness to your breath, brings life to your limbs, and soothes the troubled mind.   The journey of yoga begins with focusing on the breath so that we can move with awareness through our physical practice, and it is here that we can awaken our senses to gain powerful insights into our body/mind and emotions.

At Yoga-cise Studio in Quakertown, we offer classes for all levels and all ages.   You will find a class that is right for you with qualified, caring instructors.   We take the time to address each student’s needs and give individual attention where needed.   If you are looking for cardio, the flow class is perfect.  Strength and tone classes are great for strengthening those weak muscles.  Gentle and restorative classes are great for lengthening the muscles and gaining flexibility and most of all relaxing.  Pilates is great for a core workout and is touted as an excellent tool for back health.

Some of the many benefits of yoga include: lowering stress levels, relieving anxiety and depression, improving brain function, maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening bones, improving sense of balance, relieving chronic back pain, reducing neck pain, lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics, and improving lung capacity.  A Norwegian study has found that yoga’s many health benefits might come from its ability to alter gene expression in immune function.   More and more evidence-based studies are confirming that yoga is beneficial as a tool for a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga-cise also offers private yoga therapy classes. Yoga therapy focuses on the adaptation and application of yoga practices.   The goal of yoga therapy is to empower individuals facing health conditions (at any level) to use the tools of yoga to improve health and well-being.  Yoga therapy is a complementary or alternative treatment modality.

For more information or if you have questions, please email : or call 267-718-6444.


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Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage Approved

2014-05-08_14-25-38What is important to lenders?

First Choice Loan Services, Inc. wants to help mortgage applicants understand what is important to lenders and why. By using these tips, you can better manage some key aspects of your finances and potentially increase the likelihood of having your loan approved.

Not every applicant is approved for a home loan the first time he/she applies. For a variety of reasons, even after a lot of hard work, sometimes a loan just can’t be approved. It may have to do with the applicant’s credit or savings history, employment stability, debt structure, or the value of the home. The good news is that a denial is merely a detour, not a roadblock. Purchasing a home takes planning, discipline, and hard work! Follow these tips and, with our assistance, homeownership may be within reach.

Establish a consistent record of paying bills on time.

Before extending a sizeable loan such as a mortgage, most lenders will want to review how you have handled your credit in the past. This includes all credit accounts, including utilities, revolving debt (credit cards, etc.), and installment debt (car loans, student loans, etc.). It is critical for you to bring all overdue bills up to date immediately and begin paying them on time in a consistent manner.

Establish a consistent record of steady employment.

Lenders are more likely to look favorably on an applicant who has been in the same (or similar) line of work for generally 2 or more years. If you have been working steadily for less than 2 years, expect the lender to ask why. There are many acceptable reasons, including:

  • You recently finished school or vocational training or left the military
  • Your work is typically seasonal, and gaps in employment are customary to the industry
  • You may have been laid off from your job
  • Frequent employment changes are normal in your line of work (sales, contract work, etc.), but you have been steadily employed and maintained a consistent level of income over the past 2 years

You may want to pay off some debt to lower your debt-to-income ratio.

This step will make it easier to qualify for a mortgage loan if your debt ratio is high. Chances are good that, if you’re already paying rent, it will be a smooth transition to making a mortgage payment. Along with the mortgage payment, you’re also responsible for real estate taxes and insurance and, if required, mortgage insurance and homeowners dues. Work with us to determine the monthly payment you can afford based on your income and the standard debt-to-income ratio guidelines.

Establish a consistent savings pattern.

Saving money for a down payment and still having enough reserves left over to cover 2 months of expenses in the event of an emergency is typically the most challenging part of buying a home. While sometimes it is difficult, this is a necessary step to ensure you are financially ready to take the plunge into homeownership. Our goal is to help you meet your short-term and long-term financial objectives. We’ll help you evaluate exactly when the right time is for you to buy, in order to help you build a secure financial future.
2014-05-08_14-26-00A little about Susan:  Susan graduated from Philadelphia University with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. She is a mortgage loan professional with over 12 years of experience. Building her business on referrals from past customers, Susan understands how to identify a mortgage program perfect for each borrower’s unique needs. She has expertise in sales and the entire mortgage process and is committed to providing each customer with the highest level of service and professionalism. Susan’s commitment to excellence and high standards for customer satisfaction make the mortgage process pleasant and easy for everyone involved.

And there you have it!  Contact First Choice Loan Services, Inc., by calling 215-252-6253. and read more about them in the Bucks County Women’s Journal

Bucks County Women’s Journal


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Children With Asperger Syndrome CAN Make Friends

Gorman John Ruggiero, Executive Director of Communication Skills Process in Wycombe, PA, explains the misnomers of Asperger Syndome.

2014-05-08_14-18-19 Ruggiero’s motto says it all: “We teach confident communication.”

Gorman John Ruggiero has been developing the Communication Skills Process for over 35 years. His work has been recognized by public and private schools, colleges, mental health centers, social service agencies, and psychology professionals for effectively improving the socialization of children on the Autism Spectrum as well as neurotypical children.   CSP classes have helped many children, youth, and adults have more satisfying relationships with peers and family.

When asked to choose what area of expertise is most influential in the future success of their children, most parents choose communication skills over math, science, English, history, and other subjects.  Good interpersonal communication skills are vital to any field of endeavor, yet these fundamental skills are not primary subjects in the educational system.

Although intellectual communication (such as writing, oral acumen, and discussion) is addressed by educators, it is with physical and emotional communication skills that healthy relationships are developed. Essential communication skills include the ability to read and interpret physical and emotional messages from others and relay physical and emotional messages back.  This holistic approach, by combining physical, emotional, and cognitive message interpretation improves communication.

The fundamentals of communication are observation skills, self-awareness, group awareness, emotional intelligence, and physical self-control, all of which are carefully examined and practiced in CSP.

How often have you heard that children with Asperger syndrome do not like to socialize? That they only have restricted interests and would rather be alone?  That they are unable to make friends?

These misnomers can be dispelled by understanding the difference between social skills and communication skills.  Socialization is a by-product of good communication skills.  Social skills cannot be taught effectively unless communication skills are strong.  Social skills are simply the icing on the cake of communication skills.

Today, when many children and youth are taking advantage of technology to improve their lives, it is important to teach them to balance their activities.  Although technology has improved our lives significantly, it has, in no small part, begun to de-emphasize face-to-face communication.  Research has indicated that almost 30% of parents are involved with cell phones, computers, or other devices while sitting at a meal with their children.  This phenomenon is reducing the opportunities for children to learn appropriate socialization and can lead to problems in school and in relationships, which, in turn, affects future success.  The advent of computers as teaching tools, entertainment, and substitutes for social interactions has made it imperative that communication skills be elevated in importance equal to other school subjects starting in elementary school and continuing through high school.

The CSP program includes exciting games and tasks that help children become aware of spatial relationships; recognize and interpret physical and emotional messages; and appropriately observe and critically analyze each other’s positive and negative behaviors in a safe, structured environment.  Self-examination, self-monitoring, and group-dynamic examination are focal points of the discussions.  Can 5-year-old children critically discuss the physical and emotional messages of peers? Yes, and they can discuss their own messaging activities as well.

Classes are grouped by age range: 5-8, 9-12, 13-17, Adults.

A Current Assessment of Asperger Syndrome

The American Psychiatric Association has deemed in the new DSM-V (released in May, 2013), that Asperger syndrome (AS) will not be included but will fall under the General Autism category.   In fact, the terminology associated with Asperger has been eliminated.  All Asperger-diagnosed children and adults have moved into the general Autism Spectrum Disorder category (ASD).  The American Psychiatric Association claims that there are too many children being diagnosed with AS.

What this will mean for the Asperger community is not yet clear, although there is much angst and speculation from groups such as Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) and The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP) in New York.  These and similar organizations that have fought a long-term battle for Asperger syndrome services are afraid that many children and adults will lose funding and fall off the criteria lists of the general AS category.

How does this diagnostic change in the DSM-V impact the AS community?  In the final determinations and studies to re-categorize AS, some imply that as many as 10% “who meet current criteria for autism spectrum conditions could be excluded.”  Others will pick up a one of the new categories—“Social Communication Disorder”—designed to address people with social and communication difficulties (which describes most Asperger children).

The field of psychology has few, if any, current communication skills training classes within psychology curricula for undergraduate or graduate program students.  Although these curricula include study of social interactions and social cognitive functions, there remains a gaping hole in training for practical communication skills.  Communication skills process relies on methods distilled by the trained experts in communication: the expressive artists.  Where many disciplines may explain that children need to learn to socialize, they are lacking in explanations of exactly how to do it. By combining knowledge from disciplines such as the expressive arts, psychology, and new brain research, a comprehensive program has been developed: Communication Skills Process.

Our mission is to provide teaching, training, presentations, and consultation in the Communication Skills Process to children on the autism spectrum, neurotypical children, parents, therapists, educators, and corporations.






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Mad with Joy

Rev. Candace P. Smolowe, MS, from Spirited Life coaching shares with us some wonderful thoughts about being human.

10-22-2013 10-02-13 AM“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” Iris Murdoch

First, we are mad with joy to have winter behind us! The first blossoms of these beautiful earth flowers are springing out all about you. Do they take your breath away?

Many of us exist in various degrees of autopilot, staying in the familiar even if it is depleting. As a species, we are losing our ability to sense danger and imbalance in our food, our political systems, and our monetary institutions. We are also losing our ability to experience the exquisite beauty and opportunity that exists in every moment. Social media and keyboard shopping have muted our natural way of being and connecting. We trust that we will be taken care of by something “out there.”

Let’s reset for a moment and remember where we came from so we can remember how to enjoy where we are.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We have heard this countless times. Let’s make it real.

Imagine you wish to buy or rent a car. You have certain considerations for the purchase including price, comfort, reliability, etc. You make your selection after a period of time and effort and then find yourself in the driver’s seat, responsible for pushing the right buttons and pedals in such a way that you arrive at your destination safely and enjoyably. You drive your car; you are not your car.

Imagine now that you are consciousness, wishing to be human. You have certain considerations for the rental, including the parents you will have, the amount of karmic debt you wish to repay, the lessons you wish to learn, your life purpose. You make the selection and immediately find yourself experiencing a dense and heavy body that is quite different from the pure consciousness of a moment ago. As an added challenge, you begin to forget that you are NOT your body, but only renting it.

As consciousness renting a human body, your contract might look something like this:

“I agree, of my own free will, to rent the human body that will be born to (parents). I willingly accept all the challenges, limitations, and opportunities that are part of this rental, knowing that I can meet each with love and grace if I choose. I will ask for help because I certainly will need it. I am willing to learn how to bring my consciousness and loving spirit into this body and mind in such a way that both my humanity and my Divinity are fully expressed.

My intentions for my time on Earth are to repay my karmic debts, learn forgiveness, be courageous, and remember that I am not separate from my Creator or any other human incarnating with me. I know that I will be given situations that will help me to do this, even as I resist them.

This rental on Earth will help shift the energy of a species that has forgotten all that I hope to remember. I will be mad with joy at the beauty of my temporary home. When I am finished with this rental, I will allow it to return to the Earth, and I will come home.”

By the way, you do not need insurance. You are safe and loved regardless of what happens to your rental. You drive your human and experience your life here as your human, but you are not your human.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chodron

meadow ruePerhaps we miss the flowers because we focus on comfort and the familiar instead of passion and life. Enough! Why not fly out of our nests instead of being thrown? Muster the courage and faith it takes to move into the unknown. Thrown is what happens when we forget to live. Thrown happens when we become complacent, caught in a world that finds the Internet more interesting than the new buds on the maple we pass every day or the miraculous workmanship of the temporary nests. Thrown happens when we refuse to fly. Thrown makes it possible for us to remember that we already know how to fly.

6-10-2013 9-36-33 AMExperience your life, your emotions, your potential FULLY. Live, dance, play, explore, cry, hope. Do not pretend that you have it all together so that others won’t think badly of you. Do not blame another for the discomfort you are feeling. Treat yourself and every living thing with the grace and respect that your own Creator bestows upon you. Do something beyond the scope of trying to figure out your life and why you feel stuck. Find a way to support the healing of our planet and the well-being of its inhabitants. Pray, smile, sleep. Find sunsets and sunrises and buy lemonade from any child who is selling it. Push yourself 3-22-2013 4-39-08 PMbeyond what you think is possible or even rational.

And let the flowers make you mad with joy. Happy Spring!

Rev. Candace P. Smolowe, MS
Spiried Life Coaching
Contact Rev. Smolowe above or read about her in the Bucks County Women’s Journal


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Hope for Your Fertility – Break 8 Bad Habits to Help

Abington Reproductive Medicine tells us how breaking 8 bad habits in your diet and lifestyle can lead to better ovulation and an easier path to pregnancy.

Don’t let bad habits get in the way of your success—make a commitment to some of these diet and lifestyle changes, and it could lead to a more fertile you:

1) Maintain a healthy body weight and lose weight if you’re overweight.

2) Avoid trans fats.  These fats are mostly found in fried food and hydrogenated oils.

3) Limit your consumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates.

4) Eat more vegetables for protein rather than from animals.  Beans and lentils are good examples of vegetables loaded with protein.

5) Get more fiber in your diet!  Good sources of fiber can come from vegetables, fruit and 100% whole grains.

6) Don’t skip your multivitamin.

7) Exercise every day for at least 20-30 minutes.

8) Instead of lowfat/nonfat dairy, eat full-fat dairy.  Just one serving daily has been shown to can help increase fertility in women.

In addition to making changes in your life, you still may need to consult with a fertility specialist.  Please remember infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse for those under the age of 35.  If you are over the age of 35, then you should not wait more than six months to seek care, and anyone over 40 should make an appointment as soon as possible.  Abington Reproductive Medicine has successfully treated patients with fertility issues for over 27 years. Its board-certified fertility specialists, along with their dedicated, experienced staff, understand the medical and emotional challenges of infertility.

Abington Reproductive Medicine’s state-of-the-art fertility center combines a commitment to sensitive care and the latest technologies. You will find compassionate, supportive care and will be treated like a guest during all your visits—the entire staff takes part in the emotional journey with you.  They will answer all your questions, allay your fears, and identify the best plan to help you get pregnant.  Abington Reproductive Medicine’s doctors are voted consistently as Philadelphia and The Main Line’s “Top Fertility Docs.”

If you have already visited with a specialist and are aware that conceiving a baby is an issue, consider the following options to begin your journey:

Donor egg – Abington Reproductive Medicine offers immediate matching for donor egg recipients. Select from the most exceptional and carefully screened candidates.

Coculture– Abington Reproductive Medicine offers an innovative approach to in vitro fertilization called coculture (autologous endometrial coculture).  It is one of a few fertility centers in the United States offering this technique.

Schedule an appointment at one of its seven convenient office locations and let 2014 be your year!

Abington ~ Doylestown ~ East Norriton ~ Langhorne ~ Lansdale ~ Paoli ~ Lancaster



  • -Comprehensive office consultation and evaluation
  • -IVF(in vitro fertilization)
  • -ICSI(sperm injected into the egg performed for male infertility)
  • -Assisted hatching
  • -Blastocyst culture and transfer
  • -Autologous endometrial coculture
  • -PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis)
  • -Ovulation induction
  • -IUI(intrauterine insemination)
  • -Donor insemination
  • -Genetic assessment and counseling
  • -Gestational carrier/surrogacy
  • -Recurrent pregnancy loss
  • -PCOS(Polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • -Donor egg
  • -Fertility preservation
  • -Endometriosis
  • -Andrology services(semen analysis)
  • -Reproductive urologist for male infertility
  • -da Vinci® robotic surgery system for tubal reversals and removal of fibroids
  • -Infertility support groups
  • -LGBT family building: we have proudly helped many gay, lesbian, and transgender couples create families with the assistance of fertility treatments

See Abington Reproductive Medicine in the Bucks County Women’s Journal
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