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Obesity May Be Bad for the Brain, Too


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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Could too much weight be bad for the brain as well as the belly?

New research suggests that being overweight or obese may trigger premature aging of the middle-aged brain.

The study centered on how carrying excess weight might affect the brain's white matter, which facilitates communication between different brain regions.

White matter tissue is known to shrink with age. But the new study found that the amount of white matter in the brain of a 50-year-old overweight/obese person was comparable to that of a 60-year-old lean person.

"Obesity is associated with a host of biological processes that are seen in normal aging," said study author Lisa Ronan, a research associate in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge in England. "And therefore we hypothesized that obesity may in fact compound the effects of aging that we see in the brain. This is what we found."

Ronan stressed that it's "too early to tell" what this really means. "However, it is possible that being overweight may raise the risk of developing disorders related to neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia," she said.

Still, the study didn't prove obesity causes premature brain aging. And, Ronan noted that "there were no differences in cognitive ability between overweight and obese people and their lean counterparts."

Ronan and her colleagues focused on nearly 500 men and women between the ages of 20 and 87. All were residents of the Cambridge region and in good mental health.

About half were "lean" (at a body mass index or BMI between 18.5 and 25). Nearly a third were "overweight" (BMI 25 to 30), and about 20 percent were "obese" (BMI over 30). Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on weight in relation to height.

Initial white matter measurements generally revealed that overweight/obese participants had notably reduced white matter volume compared with lean participants.

And an age breakdown revealed that a middle-aged participant who was either overweight or obese had a white matter volume comparable in size to that of a middle-aged lean participant a decade older.

The study authors stressed that the 10-year white matter difference was only seen among those middle-aged and older, not among participants in their 20s or 30s. This, they said, suggests that the brain may become increasingly vulnerable to the impact of excess weight as people grow older.

"At the moment, we really don't know what might be driving the correlation between an increased BMI and lower white matter volume," noted Ronan.

"Indeed, it is not yet clear whether being overweight/obese may cause brain changes, or whether brain changes may in some way cause an increase in adiposity (excess weight)," she added.

"Until we understand the mechanism that relates BMI to brain changes, it is not easy to say whether losing weight will in some way act to mitigate the effects we reported," she said. "This is something that we are currently investigating."

The findings were published recently in the Neurobiology of Aging journal.

Dr. Yvette Sheline is director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. She described Ronan's study as "interesting from several perspectives."

But, Sheline noted that the study had a few "limitations," which might explain why the research team didn't observe any relationship between reduced white matter volume and poorer memory and thinking.

Sheline said Ronan's team "only looked at obesity as an overall measure and didn't take into account the distribution of fat." She also noted that some studies have suggested that obesity centered around the waist does tend to have a worse effect on thinking than other types of obesity.

"Also, this study didn't actually follow people over time, so their conclusions are limited by having measures from only one time point," Sheline added.

More information

There's more on obesity's impact on health at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: Lisa Ronan, Ph.D., research associate, department of psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England; Yvette Sheline, M.D., professor, psychiatry, radiology and neurology, and director, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; July 27, 2016, Neurobiology of Aging

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016

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      Story Source:
      Materials provided by University College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
      Journal Reference:
      Neil Garrett, Stephanie C Lazzaro, Dan Ariely, Tali Sharot. The brain adapts to dishonesty. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4426
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      University College London. "How lying takes our brains down a 'slippery slope': Telling small lies desensitizes our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161024134012.htm>.

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      By Guest Nicole
      A large study has found that body mass index, waist circumference and diabetes are all associated with an increased risk for liver cancer. Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer, and its incidence has tripled since the mid-1970s in the United States.
      For the study, in Cancer Research, researchers pooled data from 14 prospective studies with more than 1.5 million participants. After controlling for age, sex, alcohol use, smoking and race, they found that being overweight increased the relative risk for liver cancer by between 21 percent and 142 percent as B.M.I. increased. For each 2-inch increase in waist circumference, the risk of liver cancer increased by 8 percent, even after controlling for B.M.I. And those with Type 2 diabetes had more than double the risk of liver cancer, even among the non-obese.
      There was no association of B.M.I. with cancer if the patient had hepatitis, a cause of liver cancer so strong that it overwhelms any other cause. But among those without hepatitis, the increased risk was significant.
      “This study underscores that the parallel increase in obesity is part of the increase in liver cancer rates,” said the lead author, Peter T. Campbell, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. “Now we have to accept the fact that obesity and Type 2 diabetes are strongly associated with liver cancer.”

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Do you see what I see? Not necessarily with these optical illusions! When you look at an image, your brain takes that information into perception. Sometimes, an image can trick the brain into perceiving it differently from what the picture actually is, creating an optical illusion.
      Take a look at the following 10 images to find out if you can see the two images masking as one.

      Is It a Man Playing a Horn or Woman’s Face?
      When you stare at this black and white image, do you see woman’s face with hair on the right side of it or a man playing a horn? If you can’t see the man, look at the black shape. See him now?

      Is It a Rabbit or a Duck?
      If you look at this image one way, the two rectangular shapes on the left could be a duck’s bill. But if you look at it another way, those shapes might appear to you as a pair of rabbit ears.

      Do You See One Face or Two?
      When staring at this image, you might see two silhouettes facing each other. Look again and you may just see one face staring at a candlestick.

      Do You See a Stream or People?
      Some people may see a rushing stream going down a mountain in this picture, but if you take a closer look at that stream, you may see it as people wearing white robes. What do you see?

      Is It a Frog or Horse?
      At first glance, this image may just look like an illustration of a horse. However, if you tilt your head to the left you might see a frog sitting on a lily pad instead.

      Is It a Vase or Two Faces?
      In this popular optical illusion you might see a vase. Another person might look at it and see two silhouettes of faces. Do you see how the curves of the vase could form the shape of a face and vice versa?

      Do You See an Old Man, an Old Woman, or a Girl?
      Your eye might show you one, two or even three different images in this complex optical illusion. Do you see the large nose and mustache of a man who is wearing a hat? Perhaps you see the young girl wearing a hat who is looking away on her left. Or, you might see the old woman, also wearing a hat, who is facing to the left.

      Are the Circles Intertwining or Concentric?
      Do these circles look like they’re intertwining to you? Now, take another look and try to pinpoint the locations in which the circles meet. If you can’t find them, don’t worry. These circles are actual concentric and only have the illusion of intertwining with one another.

      Are the Circles Moving?
      Staring still at this image will show you two stationary circles with a black dot in the middle of the inner circle. Stare at the dot, but start moving your head closer to the image, and then pull it away. Did you see the circles move?

      Do You See an Elderly Man and Woman or a Young Man and Woman?
      When you look at this image do you see two elderly people gazing at each other? If not, you might see two people wearing sombreros while sitting down set against a larger scene. The man is playing the guitar. These people’s bodies make out the silhouettes of the elderly couple’s faces.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new device that would help obese people absorb fewer calories — by draining a portion of their undigested stomach contents directly into the toilet.
      The AspireAssist is basically a small pump that attaches to a hose surgically implanted in a person’s stomach. Twenty to 30 minutes after every meal, they’d open the port valve, turn on the device, and pump out about 30 percent of the food they ate. The process takes five to ten horrifying minutes.
      In a yearlong clinical trial, people treated with an AspireAssist device and nutrition and exercise counseling lost an average of 12.1 percent of their body weight versus 3.6 percent in a control group that received the counseling alone.
      It’s meant for people age 22 and over with a body mass index between 35 and 55 — obesity is technically a BMI of 30 or more — who haven’t responded to other non-surgical weight-loss approaches. Last week, federal health officials announced that 38 percent of adults are obese.
      But, the FDA warns, the device “should not be used on patients with eating disorders.” Perhaps that’s because critics say it mimics binge-and-purge behavior. In 2013, a nutrition professor characterized the device as a “bulimia machine.”
      The FDA also writes that “patients require frequent monitoring by a health care provider to shorten the tube as they lose weight and abdominal girth, so that the disk remains flush against their skin.” Side effects of the device include occasional indigestion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea plus “leakage, bleeding and/or infection around the site where the tube is placed and device migration into the stomach wall.”
      Wait, I’m sorry: Someone thought this was an advancement in the treatment of obesity?
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      MRI scans found infants who drank more of it had more brain tissue, study found.
      TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Breast milk may help promote brain growth in premature infants, a new study found.
      "The brains of babies born before their due dates usually are not fully developed," explained senior investigator Dr. Cynthia Rogers, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.
      "But breast milk has been shown to be helpful in other areas of development, so we looked to see what effect it might have on the brain," Rogers said in a university news release.
      "With MRI scans, we found that babies fed more breast milk had larger brain volumes. This is important because several other studies have shown a correlation between brain volume and cognitive development," she said.
      The study included 77 infants born at least 10 weeks early, with the average being 14 weeks premature. Brain scans were conducted on the infants at about the time when they would have been born if delivered at full term.
      The scans revealed that infants whose daily diets included at least 50 percent breast milk had more brain tissue and cortical-surface area than those who received much less breast milk.
      The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, in Baltimore. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Scientists report that diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse the damage
      Date:
      April 22, 2016
      Source:
      University of California - Los Angeles
      Summary:
      Consuming fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, alters hundreds of genes that may be linked to many diseases, life scientists report. However, they discovered good news as well: an important omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.
       
      A range of diseases -- from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer's disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- are linked to changes to genes in the brain. A new study by UCLA life scientists has found that hundreds of those genes can be damaged by fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, in a way that could lead to those diseases.
      However, the researchers discovered good news as well: An omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.
      "DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable," said Xia Yang, a senior author of the study and a UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology. "And we can see why it has such a powerful effect."
      DHA occurs naturally in the membranes of our brain cells, but not in a large enough quantity to help fight diseases.
      "The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and of integrative biology and physiology, and co-senior author of the paper.
      DHA strengthens synapses in the brain and enhances learning and memory. It is abundant in wild salmon (but not in farmed salmon) and, to a lesser extent, in other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and fruits and vegetables, said Gomez-Pinilla, who also is a member of UCLA's Brain Injury Research Center.
      Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener made from corn starch, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2014. Fructose is also found is in most baby food and in fruit, although the fiber in fruit substantially slows the body's absorption of the sugar -- and fruit contains other healthy components that protect the brain and body, Yang said.
      To test the effects of fructose and DHA, the researchers trained rats to escape from a maze, and then randomly divided the animals into three groups. For the next six weeks, one group of rats drank water with an amount of fructose that would be roughly equivalent to a person drinking a liter of soda per day. The second group was given fructose water and a diet rich in DHA. The third received water without fructose and no DHA.
      After the six weeks, the rats were put through the maze again. The animals that had been given only the fructose navigated the maze about half as fast than the rats that drank only water -- indicating that the fructose diet had impaired their memory. The rats that had been given fructose and DHA, however, showed very similar results to those that only drank water -- which strongly suggests that the DHA eliminated fructose's harmful effects.
      Other tests on the rats revealed more major differences: The rats receiving a high-fructose diet had much higher blood glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels than the other two groups. Those results are significant because in humans, elevated glucose, triglycerides and insulin are linked to obesity, diabetes and many other diseases.
      The research team sequenced more than 20,000 genes in the rats' brains, and identified more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the brain's major metabolic control center) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (which helps regulate learning and memory) that were altered by the fructose. The altered genes they identified, the vast majority of which are comparable to genes in humans, are among those that interact to regulate metabolism, cell communication and inflammation. Among the conditions that can be caused by alterations to those genes are Parkinson's disease, depression, bipolar disorder, and other brain diseases, said Yang, who also is a member of UCLA's Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences.
      Of the 900 genes they identified, the researchers found that two in particular, called Bgn and Fmod, appear to be among the first genes in the brain that are affected by fructose. Once those genes are altered, they can set off a cascade effect that eventually alters hundreds of others, Yang said.
      That could mean that Bgn and Fmod would be potential targets for new drugs to treat diseases that are caused by altered genes in the brain, she added.
      The research also uncovered new details about the mechanism fructose uses to disrupt genes. The scientists found that fructose removes or adds a biochemical group to cytosine, one of the four nucleotides that make up DNA. (The others are adenine, thymine and guanine.) This type of modification plays a critical role in turning genes "on" or "off."
      The research is published online in EBioMedicine, a journal published jointly by Cell and The Lancet. It is the first genomics study of all the genes, pathways and gene networks affected by fructose consumption in the regions of the brain that control metabolism and brain function.
      Previous research led by Gomez-Pinilla found that fructose damages communication between brain cells and increases toxic molecules in the brain; and that a long-term high-fructose diet diminishes the brain's ability to learn and remember information.
      "Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Gomez-Pinilla. He recommends avoiding sugary soft drinks, cutting down on desserts and generally consuming less sugar and saturated fat.
      Although DHA appears to be quite beneficial, Yang said it is not a magic bullet for curing diseases. Additional research will be needed to determine the extent of its ability to reverse damage to human genes.
      The paper's lead author is Qingying Meng, a postdoctoral scholar in Yang's laboratory. Other co-authors are Zhe Ying, a staff research associate in Gomez-Pinilla's laboratory, and colleagues from UCLA, the National Institutes of Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
      Yang's research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01DK104363), as is Gomez-Pinilla's (R01DK104363 and R01NS050465).
      Story Source:
      The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
      Source: 
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      Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener made from corn starch, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2014.
      Credit: © AlenKadr / Fotolia
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      THURSDAY, March 31, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- More people worldwide are obese than underweight, a new study found.
      The researchers added that about one-fifth of adults could be obese by 2025.
      The number of obese people in the world rose from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, with obesity rates rising from 3 percent to 11 percent among men and from 6 percent to 15 percent among women, the study found.
      Over the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of men and from 15 percent to 10 percent of women, according to the study.
      More than one-quarter of severely obese men and nearly one-fifth of severely obese women in the world live in the United States, the researchers said.
      On average, people worldwide have become an average of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) heavier each decade. At the current pace, about 18 percent of men and 21 percent of women will be obese, and more than 6 percent of men and 9 percent of women will be severely obese by 2025, the study found.
      The findings were released online on March 31 in The Lancet.
      "Over the past 40 years, we have changed from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight," said study senior author Majid Ezzati, a professor at Imperial College London's School of Public Health, in England.
      "If present trends continue, not only will the world not meet the obesity target of halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity at its 2010 level by 2025, but more women will be severely obese than underweight by 2025," he said in a journal news release.
      "To avoid an epidemic of severe obesity, new policies that can slow down and stop the worldwide increase in body weight must be implemented quickly and rigorously evaluated, including smart food policies and improved health care training," Ezzati said.
      Despite the findings, extremely low weight remains a serious public health problem in the poorest parts of the world, the researchers noted. For example, nearly one-quarter of people in south Asia are underweight, as are 15 percent of men and 12 percent of women in central and east Africa.
      The study findings reflect "a fatter, healthier but more unequal world," wrote George Davey Smith in an accompanying journal editorial. He is a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol, in England.
      "A focus on obesity at the expense of recognition of the substantial remaining burden of undernutrition threatens to divert resources away from disorders that affect the poor to those that are more likely to affect the wealthier in low-income countries," he noted.
      More information
      The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases outlines thehealth risks of being overweight.
      SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, March 31, 2016
      Source: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      They are renowned for meditation and moderation, but more than half the country’s Buddhist monks are obese, according to new research.
      The early morning alms round by saffron-clad monks holding their donations bowls to collect food and drink is a familiar daily ritual in Thailand.
      But scientists have now concluded that the tradition is contributing to anobesity epidemic among the Buddhist monkhood.
      For according to a startling new study, nearly half the country’s monks are obese and suffering related health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
      The expanding waistlines are largely filling out because of the donations to their daily diet, researchers concluded. For the alms often consist of drink juices, sweet tea, snacks and street foods – all laden with fat and sugar.
      The largely sedentary nature of temple monastic life – with large amounts of time spent in prayer and meditation – is also exacerbating the health woes.
      Academics and religious and heath officials and academics have now launched a new campaign to promote leaner clerical living by weaning monks off unhealthy food, teach them how to prepare nutritional balanced meals and encouraging them to exercise.
      The aim is to help the monks lead longer healthier lives and also to reduce medical fees as the the government covers such costs for members of the clergy.
      Jongjit Angkatavanich, a health and nutrition expert at Bangkok's prestigious Chulalongkorn University, said the study showed that 48 per cent of monks are obese.
      "Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb," she told the Bangkok Post. Her study found 42 per cent of monks have high cholesterol levels, 23 per cent suffer from high blood pressure, and more than 10% are diabetic.
      Although there has been disagreement about measures of obesity, the increasing challenge of overweight monks is not in doubt.
      The university’s Faculty of Allied Heath Sciences university has teamed up with religious organisations to launch a national programme to combat monk obesity.
      They have already started a trial project to train cooks and officials at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, one of Thailand’s two public Buddhist universities.
      The emphasis was on preparing meals with added protein, fibre and calcium and encouraging monks to increase their physical activity.
      The results were immediate. Among 82 monks with obesity problems who were attending religious programmes at the college, the clerics lost 2.2 pounds (1kg) on average and reduced their waistlines by more than half an inch during the eight-week programme. One monk said that he shed as much as 22 pounds (10 kgs).
      Chulalongkorn Medical Hospital has also provided monks with a specially-designed girdle to wear so that they feel the squeeze if they over-eat and gain weight.
      The obesity phenomenon is another blow to the image of a religious institution whose members are supposed to have opted for lives of austerity, meditation and asceticism, eschewing materialism and excess.
      Several financial, sexual and jet-set lifestyle scandals and have embroiled senior clerics in recent years in a country that is 90 per cent Buddhist.
      And Thai Buddhism does not currently have a spiritual leader as the appointment of a new Supreme Patriarch has been caught up in another long-running controversy.
      The confirmation of the 90-year-old abbot nominated by the supreme clerical council has been ensnared in an investigation of an alleged tax evasions scam involving a vintage car and his links to a controversial temple.
      The stand-off developed into remarkable clashes between monks and soldiers as supporters of the abbot, Somdet Chuang, tried to stage a protest in his favour.
      The cleric is being investigated for allegedly acquiring a vintage Mercedes-Benz through a tax evasion scheme. He has denied any wrongdoing.
      But he is also associated with the Dhammakaya sect that is under scrutiny for allegedly amassing a fortune as well as ties to the deposed ex-prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
      Thailand’s ruling junta, which overthrew Mr Thaksin’s sister Yingluck as prime minister in 2014, has delayed seeking the required endorsement of the ailing King Bhumipol to confirm Somdet Chuang to the country’s highest religious position.
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    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 2 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
      Bonne journée Michel
      1LE BATEAU.pdf
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
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