Global News Blog: Brazil’s Spiritual Healer

November 22, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Posted By Erin Ruelas

During hopeless times, where do you turn? Do you turn to prayer, Church, or spiritual healers?

In the tiny town of Abadiania, Brazil, believers who are searching for healing flee to John of God, a.k.a Joao de Deus. For the past 30 years, John of God has said to have cured heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer inside his “Casa,” or his spiritual temple.

John of God is known to perform surgeries without any modern technology or anesthesia. Can this be true? Well, many believers can testify that the only reason they are alive is because of this man and his healing powers.

Many skeptics across the world question if this is just a hoax and another way to get false media attention. However, celebrities like Oprah became interested and further investigated John of God. Susan Casey, the editor-in-chief of O, The Oprah Magazine, went on a mission to witness the credibility of John of God. Surprisingly, Casey is now a firm believer and gives credit to John of God’s special healing powers.

Is this a hoax? Could this be true? If Oprah dedicated an entire episode and took time to investigate and credit John of God, then maybe it’s worth looking into for personal interest. .

Tate Student Forum: The Brain Scientist Who Survived a Stroke

February 23, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Jill Bolte Taylor answers questions at the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum Tuesday afternoon. (PHOTO BY AIDA AHMED / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Jill Bolte Taylor answers questions at the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum Tuesday afternoon. (PHOTO BY AIDA AHMED / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

Best-selling author and neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor shared some details of her inspiring story with SMU students and faculty Tuesday afternoon at the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum.

Taylor, who decided to study the brain after her brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, had a rare opportunity to study her own brain.

In 1996 she suffered a stroke that wiped out her memory and left her unable to speak, read or write. The experience was the basis for her book, “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey”.

Taylor said that the most traumatic part of the experience was not being able to put her thoughts and emotions into music.

Before the stroke, the doctor was known as the “singing scientist”. As a postmortem brain tissue researcher at Harvard University, Taylor would travel around the country talking about the value of brain tissue donation and would sing a “brain jingle” every where she went. After the stroke, she could not even make out letters or symbols.

“How does one relearn?” asked Taylor. “I knew all this stuff, but I could not access it.”

She said she was essentially a two-year-old stuck in a woman’s body, but one thing she could do was read peoples’ energies.

“I could tell if the intonation of a voice matched the face and if people were telling the truth,” said Taylor.

The brain scientist said she felt that she was fully recovered after eight years of therapy and a major brain surgery in which doctors removed a golf ball-sized clot that was placing pressure on the left hemisphere of her brain.

Her story gained national attention after speaking at a Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference Talk in 2008. After launching her memoir, Oprah asked her to be on her show. Later that year, her story earned her a spot in “Time Magazine’s” 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Joe Green, a graduate student in Perkins School of Theology said he was told about her book after he recovered from a stroke he had when he was 15.

“When you have a stroke everyone wants to give you something to relate to,” said Green. He wasn’t interested in reading about someone else having a stroke until he saw a video of Dr. Taylor on the TED Conference Talk.

“I was kind of timid and didn’t want to talk about [the stroke], but her story gave me the strength,” said Green.

The doctor said she too gained insight from the experience. Insight into what it’s like to live in a society where you are going at a different pace and have a different perception of reality.

Senior biology and philosophy double major Alex Frolou said he found her experience useful.

“Her whole story offers insight on the brain which is really important, even in philosophical debates,” Frolou said.

Taylor said it became her personal mission to help people realize that they have love and compassion from their right brain that gets pushed back in the fast urgency of the left brain.

“Sometimes we can step back and pause,” said Taylor.

In addition to her book getting published in 27 different languages, Taylor is in the final contractual dealings for a movie of her life starring Jodie Foster.

Campus News Blog: Orman Says Save Your Cash

April 10, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Leslie Chase

The semester is winding down, and for some of us, our scholastic journey is coming to an end. Some of us will go on to graduate school and some of us will venture off into the scary realities of the current job market. Either way, student loans and credit card debts are going to start piling up.

So what’s the best course of action for attacking insurmountable debt and surviving? Is paying off all credit card debt and paying down student loans as quickly as possible the best course of action? Not according to personal finance guru Suze Orman.

Last week I was enjoying a much needed break and flipped on the TV and saw Suze Orman talking with Oprah about her 2009 personal finance plan.

Since I’m graduating soon and have been feverishly working for the past three years to pay off all my credit card debt in preparation for paying off student loans, I decided to tune in. Much to my surprise Suze Orman said to stop what I was doing and just pay the minimums on my credit cards. I was shocked and a little annoyed.

Orman explained that with the current state of the economy it’s important that we start saving cash and putting it into an emergency fund.

This advice isn’t just relevant to Oprah viewers, but to everyone. And if Oprah says only to pay the minimum on our credit cards and to start saving cash then that’s exactly what we need to do. It’s Oprah after all and she’s never wrong. So students, start shoving cash in the mattress and save, because there is a storm on the horizon and that rainy day we’ve been saving for may be just around the corner.

Global News Blog: Am I less of a Man?

March 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Josh Bryant

Every man has moments that could be classified as border-line feminine. Maybe it’s a movie that touches us in a way that causes or allergies to flare up or better yet, maybe it’s the results of our fantasy teams that make can make us whimper. But whatever the reasoning, it happens! Tim McGraw was one of the first to come out and say “ I don’t know why they say grown men don’t cry,” and in this weeks entry I’m going to share a touching story about how technology has closed generation gaps and bulldozed my great wall of manliness.

The other day while I was being forced to watch Oprah, she brought two Australian men on-stage and showed a YouTube video of their story to her viewing audience. Immediately after the show the video received thousands of hits and was placed on the front page of Yahoo.com, reconnecting the world to an event that happened over three decades ago. During a time when corruption is more commonly heard about than good deeds, AIG handing out sketchy bonuses, and one man creating a billion dollar fraud, it’s refreshing to have the ability to witness a true act of loyalty.

These Aussies had the courage to trust Christian the Lion and have inspired millions over three decades later. YouTube’s ability to provide videos to the public domain has once again paid off; considering the rarity of seeing anything older than fifteen years due to the new copyright and patent laws.

Let’s hope it stays the same as the laws of the Information Highway are starting to be implemented. If copyright and patent laws were to be enforced on Youtube like they are in the real world the chances of free laughter, inspiration and instruction will be reduced significantly.

Can you imagine having too much time on your hands and not being able to spend a few hours on YouTube watching hilarious duplicates, Reggie Bush highlight tapes and music videos? Yikes, that’s gonna be a painful few hours!

A Student’s Journey from Science to Opera

November 24, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Kamille Carlisle
kcarlisl@smu.edu

Singing was always something Dee Donasco liked to do. She sang in her church choir for fun but science and math was what she was serious about, what she was good at.

Donasco majored in biology and minored in chemistry at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and planned to study medicine in graduate school. She never imagined she would end up studying opera at SMU, but could not be more pleased with the result.

Hank Hammett, director of opera at SMU, had a former student teaching in Corpus Christi who had heard Donasco sing and felt she had great potential.

“She was telling me “you have an amazing voice, you should really go into singing.’ I didn’t even know how to read music,” Donasco said. “I thought she was crazy.”

When Hammett heard about Donasco’s exceptional talent, he was one of the first to begin working privately with her while she was still at A&M.

“I could tell there was something very special about her,” Hammett said. “It wasn’t a surprise when she started having success.”

Donasco progressed quickly in her music reading skills and vocal technique and was soon entering competitions. She won second place in the Dallas Opera’s 2007 competition, and first place in the San Antonio Opera competition. Excelling vocally with ease led her to also major in music. She began to reconsider her graduate school plans.

“I realized music was my passion but I never thought I could get a job being an opera singer,” said Donasco. “But I was drawn to it, and made the decision to put myself out there and see what happened.”

Hammett and Dale Dietert, visiting assistant professor, encouraged her to audition for Meadows’ opera program at and she received a full scholarship.

“We told her we would do anything to help,” Hammett said. “We are thrilled to have her and it’s an honor to help teach an enormously talented young lady.”

Donasco said she also feels honored to be a part of the program.

“The faculty has been so supportive. They are like my family,” she said. “I’m very lucky.”

Originally from the Philippines, 25-year-old Donasco came with her parents to the United States. when she was 13. Before arriving to America, her family lived modestly. She remembers having to wear one pair of shoes for years before being able to get new ones. They ate vegetables from her grandmother’s garden and never encountered a McDonald’s.

“When we first moved here, I think I weighed about 80 pounds. I probably gained 25 pounds in the first month,” Donasco said.

Her parents settled in Corpus Christi but family life was turbulent. Her father eventually moved back to the Philippines and Donasco was living on her own before graduating from high school.

“I ended up having to do things on my own but that has made me a very determined person.”

Though she does not have familial support, Donasco now has a caring husband. She married her high school sweetheart in May.

“He knows it’s hard in the music field but he’s very understanding and supportive about what I’m doing, because it’s something I love,” Donasco said.

Donasco, a member of the SMU Choral, recently performed a solo in their performance of Bach’s Magnificat, which she referred to as “fantastic.” Since opera was born in Venice, Donasco learned Italian and speaks it fluently, as well as Filipino and Spanish. She is now beginning to specialize in the art of opera singing.

Pamela Elrod, the director of Choral activities, has great faith in Donasco’s potential. “She’s destined for stardom,” Elrod said. “She is going to be a great success. I have no doubt.”

Donasco hopes to make a living as an opera singer when she graduates. “I may not make much money for a while,” she said. “That’s the life of a musician. You just never know.”

Hammett, like Elrod, has faith in Donasco’s future. “She’s meant to do something. When you’re meant to do something, it will happen.”