It’s the dog days of summer and we have an interesting numerology combination of characters in the sky to contend with. Here’s one thing I can promise…no one will be bored this month. Six, yes I said SIX, planets will be in retrograde in August. What does that mean? Well it depends on the planet and sign. Many people believe that retrograde brings out the negative or dark side of a planet. I disagree. I think that retrograde can dim the power of a transit or require us to revisit that category of our lives and reassess our behavior or choices. In other words, clean house, “come to Jesus,” change course, try a new approach, or apply discipline. With so many areas of our lives being affected by this you have a big list to choose from in terms of focus. Overwhelmed? Here’s my advice: What area of your life have you been putting off changing? What behavior or situation do you need to wrangle, control, change or pay more attention to? You know what you need to do. Don’t feel like making any effort this month? The consequences of your inaction will ratchet up until you take responsibility. If you take your medicine some tough situations could be permanently resolved. Now doesn’t that sound better than mayhem?
July 24- Aug 23rd
“What about moi?”
Happy Birthday my lions and lionesses! Summer is your season in every way. The Sun is even your ruling “planet.” You have an actual burning massive star as your patron heavenly body. Wow. Remember that because I’ll come back to it in a minute. With some of the bigger planets in Earth and Water signs in retrograde, this is a time of rain on your proverbial parade. There is a heaviness or a damper at times on your moments of frivolity or passion. Situations may not resolve at the pace that you desire. There are always complications to wade through. When you feel frustrated try not to turn it on others. This is a month where words can hurt and do damage. Hold your tongue and direct your reflection inward. You are a burning star. You have a generator that is bigger than any circumstance. Own your inner power. The sun doesn’t attack the rain, it just evaporates the closer it gets to its surface. Shine your light and let problems take their own course and dissolve.
Aug 24th- Sep 23rd
You, like everyone else, will be affected by the Mars and Mercury retrograde this month. Virgos are less likely to speak out of turn…they are typically too careful for that. My advice is to cut those around you who struggle with foot in mouth disease some slack. Don’t take everything so personally and hole up to lick your wounds. Yes you are right but they are human. Life isn’t about always being right it’s about connecting and compassion. The last week of August is a divine moment for you all with a grand earth trine- AGAIN. Lucky you, especially those Virgos born August 25th- 30th.
Sep 24th- Oct 23rd
“My milkshake brings all the…”
Yes, the earth and water retrogrades are heavy for you this month but the stars are giving you some lovely breaks too. Firstly, while everyone else is saying the wrong thing in conflict, you have an opportunity to speak up for yourself. August will give you your voice back so it’s time to tell it like it is!
Your other gift is from your patron planet Venus who is home to stay for a little while in Libra. This means extra money and the ability to attract potential partners of all kinds. You don’t even need to pull out your milkshake machine or bat your eyelashes!
Oct 24th- Nov 22nd
“If it’s not broken…”
Many of the transits that are wreaking havoc on others are propelling you to success right now. The retrogrades may slow down your progress a bit but you are still moving forward and expanding your life. With Mars and Mercury squaring your sun AND in retrograde, you may be feeling over confident and taking risks or saying things that may backfire on you. Even though things are going well, hold back this month. Be conservative with your energy and ventures. Don’t disturb or change things that are going well.
Nov 23rd- Dec 22nd
“With the Sun at my back”
This time of year is always good for you with the Sun in Leo. It helps your life vision. How can you improve your dailyness? Do you need to change your habits, routine or choice of activities? This Mercury in retrograde informs you to be calm with your loved ones, even in the face of frustration. After August 7th some funds could release in your favor or a past partner or love could come a callin’. If you are in a relationship, enjoy a magical last three months of August. If you are not in a relationship put yourself out there. You could meet the one this month. Romance is in the air.
Dec 23rd- Jan 20th
These transits require you to work harder on your goals and to assess your process. These activities come naturally to Capricorns. They also will require you to change some habits. Change does NOT come naturally to Capricorns. Please revisit the introductory paragraph at the beginning of this article. What do you know that you need to button up? Your diet and/or exercise perhaps? Yep I thought so. Don’t procrastinate, your health is at stake.
Jan 21st- Feb 19th
“Put a little love in your heart”
This Mercury in retrograde will be a big one for you. Heed my advice and don’t try to push people to do what you want. Convince them that they WANT to do it and that it is THEIR CHOICE. They will flock to you en masse with this approach. In other words, attract don’t force. After August 7th, good love. After August 13th, revisit your finances and/or business plan. Is it working? Does it need a tweak? You may have surprises regarding property or finances this month…go with the flow. There is nothing that you can do to prepare for these changes and they don’t have to be bad; they can be fabulous! Breathe in, breathe out.
Feb 20th- Mar 20th
I don’t know if you’ve read the other horoscopes but this month is pretty tough for the other signs. I’m not saying it’s all rosy for you but I do believe that you could be the sign with the most to gain right now. It all depends on how you use the big energy that is being dealt from the universe right now. Take a cue from Tai Kwon Do. When aggression come towards you in any form (an attack, a confrontation) do not expend energy towards it in defense. Receive the energy and turn it back towards the sender. I know this sounds woo woo but it works.
Don’t be hooked by the anger or confrontation. Just hold up a mirror in a non-emotional way and enjoy the power of nonviolent protest.
Mar 21st- Apr 20th
“The devil is in the details”
Our Aries friends don’t like to slow down for any reason. What they lack in meticulousness they make up for in sheer passion and determination. They are bold, energetic and fearless. Unfortunately, this month all of these qualities are not very useful. Please heed my advice and save your energy. You are being called to make your list and check it twice. You must stop and look at the map or the plan or the process. Ask for proverbial directions. If you aren’t good at the details, find someone who is and ask them to check things for you. You will be glad that you did and more efficiently reach your goals. Yes-you can go faster if you slow down this month.
Apr 21st- May 20th
“Fun in the salt mine”
Typically the first three weeks of August are never your favorite because Leo squares your sun. Everything will always get better for you when Virgo hits on August 24th. August of 2018, however, should be a lot more to your liking. You may feel tired and drained and quite frankly annoyed by the monotony of other people. But unlike the other signs, your productivity will be off the chart. In other words, keep your head down and produce. You can pile up results, money, strategies and clear goals. Evaluate your real estate. It may be time to sell. You also have the favor of your boss or authority figure.
May 21st- Jun 21st
“My future’s so bright…”
You may not make much progress this month towards your goals but you will have a clearer vision than you have had in a while as to where you can go. You see potential like never before. You just can’t run very fast towards your horizon. That’s ok. It’s time to plan, take stock and make a vision board. Half of the ingredient for success is being able to see where you want to be and who you want to be. Have conversations with your future self. KNOW that you will get there. Enjoy being outdoors and get some sun. The Leo summer weeks are illuminating your dreams, enjoy it while you can.
Jun 22nd- Jul 23rd
“Pot boiling over”
Not only are the retrogrades effecting you this month, they are SQUARING your watery crab sign. That means that you may feel like you are running into a brick wall constantly in lieu of making progress. This will make you very ANGRY. Especially as it pertains to Mars in retrograde in the sign of Libra. To help you cope let’s take inspiration from your spirit animal the crab shall we? Crabs are best at camouflage. They blend in and move quickly. They are quiet. They are stealthy. They are brilliant at succeeding while no one is really looking. Crabs are NOT at their best when they feel cornered and stand to attack. Have you ever seen a crab angry and trying to wave its claws to intimidate? It’s almost funny. It certainly isn’t effective. Do what you do best this month and don’t be pushed into making a fool of yourself. No angry displays, please. You can however win against your competitors with cunning hidden strategy.
With so many groundbreaking medical advances being revealed to the world every single day, you would imagine there would be some advancement on the plethora of many female-prevalent diseases (think female cancers, Alzheimer's, depression, heart conditions etc.) that women are fighting every single day.
For Anna Villarreal and her team, there frankly wasn't enough being done. In turn, she developed a method that diagnoses these diseases earlier than traditional methods, using a pretty untraditional method in itself: through your menstrual blood.
Getting from point A to point B wasn't so easy though. Villarreal was battling a disease herself and through that experience. “I wondered if there was a way to test menstrual blood for female specific diseases," she says. "Perhaps my situation could have been prevented or at least better managed. This led me to begin researching menstrual blood as a diagnostic source. For reasons the scientific and medical community do not fully understand, certain diseases impact women differently than men. The research shows that clinical trials have a disproportionate focus on male research subjects despite clear evidence that many diseases impact more women than men."
There's also no denying that gap in women's healthcare in clinical research involving female subjects - which is exactly what inspired Villarreal to launch her company, LifeStory Health. She says that, “with my personal experience everything was brought full circle."
“There is a challenge and a need in the medical community for more sex-specific research. I believe the omission of females as research subjects is putting women's health at risk and we need to fuel a conversation that will improve women's healthcare.,"
Her brand new biotech company is committed to changing the women's healthcare market through technology, innovation and vocalization and through extensive research and testing. She is working to develop the first ever, non-invasive, menstrual blood diagnostic and has partnered with a top Boston-area University on research and has won awards from The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Northeastern University's RISE.
How does it work exactly? Proteins are discovered in menstrual blood that can quickly and easily detect, manage and track diseases in women, resulting in diseases that can be earlier detected, treated and even prevented in the first place. The menstrual blood is easy to collect and since it's a relatively unexplored diagnostic it's honestly a really revolutionary concept, too.
So far, the reactions of this innovative research has been nothing but excitement. “The reactions have been incredibly positive." she shares with SWAAY. “Currently, menstrual blood is discarded as bio waste, but it could carry the potential for new breakthroughs in diagnosis. When I educate women on the lack of female subjects used in research and clinical trials, they are surprised and very excited at the prospect that LifeStory Health may provide a solution and the key to early detection."
To give a doctor's input, and a little bit more of an explanation as to why this really works, Dr. Pat Salber, MD, and Founder of The Doctor Weighs In comments: “researchers have been studying stem cells derived from menstrual blood for more than a decade. Stem cells are cells that have the capability of differentiating into different types of tissues. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have a more limited differentiation potential, but avoid the ethical issues that have surrounded research with embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from menstrual blood are adult stem cells."
These stem cells are so important when it comes to new findings. “Stem cells serve as the backbone of research in the field of regenerative medicine – the focus which is to grow tissues, such as skin, to repair burn and other types of serious skin wounds.
A certain type of stem cell, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs) derived from menstrual blood has been found to both grow well in the lab and have the capability to differentiate in various cell types, including skin. In addition to being used to grow tissues, their properties can be studied that will elucidate many different aspects of cell function," Dr. Salber explains.
To show the outpour of support for her efforts and this major girl power research, Villarreal remarks, “women are volunteering their samples happily report the arrival of their periods by giving samples to our lab announcing “de-identified sample number XXX arrived today!" It's a far cry from the stereotype of when “it's that time of the month."
How are these collections being done? “Although it might sound odd to collect menstrual blood, plastic cups have been developed to use in the collection process. This is similar to menstrual products, called menstrual cups, that have been on the market for many years," Dr. Salber says.
Equally shocking and innovative, this might be something that becomes more common practice in the future. And according to Dr. Salber, women may be able to not only use the menstrual blood for early detection, but be able to store the stem cells from it to help treat future diseases. “Companies are working to commercialize the use of menstrual blood stem cells. One company, for example, is offering a patented service to store menstrual blood stem cells for use in tissue generation if the need arises."