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1 Harley Street, Complementary Therapy, Psychotherapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, EEG, NLP, Reiki

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Wellness News ... what the editors are researching ...  

 

Three in 4 don't know obesity causes cancer -  Three out of four (75 per cent) people in the UK are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer. Being overweight or obese is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Being overweight or obese is linked to 10 types of cancers, including breast, bowel, womb and oesophageal. Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's head of health information, said: "A quarter of all UK adults are estimated to be obese, and this has a real impact on their risk of developing cancer. Eating a healthy balanced diet and becoming more active can help people to keep a healthy weight. And encouraging children and teenagers to do the same can help them keep to a healthy weight later on in life." Cancer Research UK

Integrative medicine program alters blood serum - Participants in a six-day Ayurvedic-based well-being program that featured a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and massages experienced measurable decreases in a set of blood-based metabolites associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk and cholesterol regulation. The findings represent a rare attempt to use metabolic biomarkers to assess the reported health benefits of integrative medicine and holistic practices. Senior author of the study, which included researchers from multiple institutions, was Deepak Chopra, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a noted proponent of integrative medicine. "It appears that a one-week Panchakarma program can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it," said Chopra, whose foundation provided and managed funding for the study. "As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health." Study co-author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health and director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, both at UC San Diego School of Medicine, noted that alternative and integrative medicine practices, such as meditation and Ayurveda, are extremely popular, but their effects on the human microbiome, genome and physiology are not fully understood. "Our program of research is dedicated to addressing these gaps in the literature." "The researchers looked at the effects of a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention on plasma metabolites in a controlled clinical trial," said first author Christine Tara Peterson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Panchakarma refers to a detoxification and rejuvenation protocol involving massage, herbal therapy and other procedures to help strengthen and rejuvenate the body." University of California San Diego. Scientific Reports

$30.2 billion on complementary health approaches - Americans spent $30.2 billion on complementary health approaches, according to a nationwide survey. These approaches include a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic, and yoga. This amount represents 9.2 percent of all out-of-pocket spending by Americans on health care and 1.1 percent of total health care spending. "... substantial numbers of Americans spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on these approaches, an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them," said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., NCCIH's lead epidemiologist. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using exercise to reduce glutamate build-up in the brain - Exercise has the potential to decrease toxic build-up in the brain, reducing the severity of brain disorders such as Huntington's disease. Glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the twenty amino acids used to construct proteins, is used by the brain to transmit signals, but too much glutamate blocks future signals and can lead to toxicity in the brain. Since the majority of the brain relies on glutamate as the main neurotransmitter for communication between neural cells, it is essential that glutamate is reabsorbed and disposed of to prevent blockage. While glutamate reuptake is a normal process for healthy brains, several diseases such as Huntington's disease, ALS, and epilepsy result in either failed reuptake of glutamate or high levels of glutamate in the brain. This can lead to unwanted and in some cases excessive stimulation of neighbouring cells which can worsen the disease. The findings of this study show that exercise has the potential to increase the use of glutamate in the brain and may help reduce the toxicity caused by glutamate build-up in these diseases. "As we all know, exercise is healthy for the rest of the body and our study suggests that exercise may present an excellent option for reducing the severity of brain disorders" says Dr. Eric Herbst, lead author of the study. "Taking into account that there are no cures for neurodegenerative diseases where glutamate is implicated, this study offers another example of the benefits of exercise for our brains" continued Dr. Herbst. "In short, these findings offer another reason to exercise with the aim of either preventing or slowing the neurodegeneration caused by these disorders". University of Guelph. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Age-related changes in the brain - Gradual and variable change in mental functions that occurs naturally as people age, not as part of a neurological disease such as Alzheimer's disease, is one of the most challenging health issues encountered by older adults. The aging process affects the brain just like any other part of the body. Known as "cognitive aging," the type and rate of change can vary widely among individuals. Some will experience very few, if any, effects, while others may experience changes in their memory, speed of processing information, problem solving, learning, and decision-making abilities.

"Changes in mental functions and capabilities are a part of aging and occur with everyone," said committee chair Dan G. Blazer, the J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "The extent and nature of these changes vary widely and are gradual, and aging can have both positive and negative effects on cognition. Wisdom and knowledge can increase with age, while memory and attention can decline."

Individuals of all ages should take the following three steps to help promote cognitive health:

  • Be physically active.

  • Reduce and manage cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.

  • Regularly discuss and review health conditions and medications that might influence cognitive health with a health care professional. A number of medications can have a negative effect -- temporary or long term --on cognitive function when used alone or in combination with other medication.

Other actions that may promote cognitive health:

  • Be socially and intellectually active, and continually seek opportunities to learn.

  • Get adequate sleep and seek professional treatment for sleep disorders, if needed.

  • Take steps to avoid a sudden acute decline in cognitive function, known as delirium, associated with medications or hospitalizations.

  • Carefully evaluate products advertised to consumers to improve cognitive health, such as medications, nutritional supplements, and cognitive training.

The report noted that health care professionals need to be prepared to provide guidance to older adults and their families as the patient population ages. Despite widespread publicity about the benefits of vitamins and supplements for brain health and the large expenditures made on these products for a wide variety of reasons, the evidence for supplements enhancing cognition or preventing decline is limited, and the medical literature does not convincingly support any vitamin supplement intervention to prevent cognitive decline, the report says. Institute of Medicine.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) helps patients - Training in meditation and other mindfulness-based techniques brings lasting improvements in mental health and quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Anxiety, depression, and decreased quality of life are common in patients with IBD. Psychological distress may lead to increased IBD symptoms and play a role in triggering disease flare-ups. Previous studies have shown benefits of MBSR for patients with a wide range of physical illnesses. "Our study provides support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a tailored mindfulness-based group intervention for patients with IBD," concludes the research report by Dr. David Castle, a psychiatrist at St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. The study also suggests that training patients in mindfulness practices to follow in daily life can lead to significant and lasting benefits, including reduced psychological distress and improved quality of life. Dr. Castle comments, "This work reinforces the interaction between physical and mental aspects of functioning, and underscores the importance of addressing both aspects in all our patients." Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Theory on unconscious memory system : EEG - For decades, scientists have theorized that this part of the brain (the hippocampus) is not involved in processing unconscious memory, the type that allows us to do things like button a shirt without having to think about it.
But research by Dr. Richard Addante, a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, raises doubts about that. Addante used electroencephalography (EEG) to test brain wave patterns while giving memory tests to amnesia patients with damaged hippocampuses. He then compared those results with control subjects. Addante hopes the research will lead to more studies in this area. He said there's a need for more research using EEG to study unconscious memory. NeuroImage

Treating patients with dignity - Although the UK has well-established local and national policies that champion the need to provide dignified care, breaches in dignity are still a problem with the NHS - and a study has uncovered a potential gap between what patients expect and the focus of care professionals. Christina Victor, Professor of Gerontology and Public Health, said: "It is important that dignity is enacted through a conceptual understanding and part of everyday care, from communication, safety and security to hands-on-care." Brunel University London

Facebook, poorer body image and risky dieting? "I think that Facebook could be an amazing tool to nurture social support and connections with friends and families. And if you're getting that kind of social support from the site, you might be less likely to be worried about your body size. But if you're using it as a measuring stick to measure how your body appears in pictures compared to your friend's body, Facebook could also be used a tool to foster dangerous dieting behavior," said Stephanie Zerwas, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health

Kids' headaches increase at back-to-school time - Findings from Nationwide Children's Hospital (USA) physicians demonstrate that headaches increase in fall (autumn) in children, a trend that may be due to back-to-school changes in stress, routines and sleep. The increase in fall headaches may be attributed to a number of factors, including academic stressors, schedule changes and an increase in extracurricular activity. Other common headache triggers include lack of adequate sleep, skipping meals, poor hydration, too much caffeine, lack of exercise and prolonged electronic screen time.

Cut stress by 40 percent - A study found that a workplace mindfulness-based intervention reduced stress levels of employees exposed to a highly stressful occupational environment. Psychological and biological markers of stress were measured one week before and one week after the intervention to see if these coping strategies would help reduce stress and burnout among participants.

"Our study shows that this type of mindfulness-based intervention in the workplace could decrease stress levels and the risk of burnout," said Maryanna Klatt, associate clinical professor in the department of Family Medicine at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. When stress is part of the work environment, it is often difficult to control and can negatively affect employees' health and ability to function, said Dr. Anne-Marie Duchemin, research scientist and Associate Professor Adjunct in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

"People who are subjected to chronic stress often will exhibit symptoms of irritability, nervousness, feeling overwhelmed; have difficulty concentrating or remembering; or having changes in appetite, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure," Duchemin said. Although work-related stress often cannot be eliminated, effective coping strategies may help decrease its harmful effects." The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

E-cigarettes may be as addictive as traditional tobacco - Electronic cigarettes or "e-cigs" have been touted as a tool smokers can use to wean themselves off of traditional cigarettes, which many believe are more harmful than their "e" counterparts. But because e-cig liquid also contains nicotine and emits carcinogens, is that perception really true? One team now reports that much of the nicotine in e-cigarettes is the addictive form of the compound. Although e-cigs don't burn tobacco, they heat and vaporize a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings and other substances. Out of concern for the potential effects that inhaling this mixture could have on the health of young people, many states have banned their sale to minors. Some experts say the nicotine content could lead users to become addicted to e-cigs, or that it could even serve as a gateway to conventional cigarettes and other drugs. The researchers tested commercial samples of liquids made for the devices and found that, by and large, the nicotine was in the most addictive form. They also determined that the concentration of nicotine varied and often didn't match the concentrations the labels claimed. American Chemical Society. Chemical Research in Toxicology

Social Brains - A study by neuroscientists sheds light on why Facebook is such a popular diversion for people who feel like taking a break. Their research shows that even during quiet moments, our brains are preparing us to be socially connected to other people. "The brain has a major system that seems predisposed to get us ready to be social in our spare moments," said Matthew Lieberman, a UCLA professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences. "The social nature of our brains is biologically based." University of California LA. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Stress levels linked to risk of liver disease death - Suffering from anxiety or depression could carry an increased risk of death from liver disease. Previous research suggests mental distress can put people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. At the same time, risk factors for cardiovascular disease - such as obesity and raised blood pressure - have been linked to a common form of liver disease, known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Dr Tom Russ, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, said: "This study provides further evidence for the important links between mind and body, and of the damaging effects psychological distress can have on physical wellbeing." University of Edinburgh. Gastroenterology

Depression associated with 5-fold increased mortality risk in heart failure patients - Moderate to severe depression is associated with a 5-fold increased risk of all cause mortality in patients with heart failure. Professor John Cleland, professor of cardiology at Imperial College London and the University of Hull, UK, said: "We know that depression is common in heart failure and affects 20-40% of patients. Depression is often related to loss of motivation, loss of interest in everyday activities, lower quality of life, loss of confidence, sleep disturbances and change in appetite with corresponding weight change. This could explain the association we found between depression and mortality."

Professor Cleland continued: "As doctors we are members of a caring profession and should be sympathetic to our patients' plight but I am not in favour of immediately prescribing anti-depressants. Studies suggest that they are not effective in reducing depression in patients with heart failure. Clinicians should, however, screen patients with heart failure for depression and consider referring those affected for counselling." European Society of Cardiology

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