Mental Attitude: Mindfulness Training May Reduce PTSD Symptoms.
The mass implementation of mindfulness training may help war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) better manage their disturbing memories and thoughts. In this pilot study, 23 United States veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars practiced either mindfulness mediation or participated in another form of therapy over a four-month period. MRI scans revealed that those who engaged in mindfulness training developed stronger connections in the brain networks associated with both inner, sometimes wandering thoughts and in shifting and directing attention. Study co-leader Dr. Anthony King adds, “The brain findings suggest that mindfulness training may have helped the veterans develop more capacity to shift their attention and get themselves out of being ‘stuck’ in painful cycles of thoughts.”
Depression and Anxiety, April 2016
Health Alert: Waistline May Predict Heart Disease.
A new study involving diabetic patients suggests that an increasing waist size is a stronger predictor of serious heart disease than either body weight or body mass index. Researchers evaluated the heart function of study participants and found that left ventricular function progressively worsened as a participant’s waist size expanded, with heart function decline eventually leveling off when the waist reached 45 inches (~114 cm). The left ventricle is the heart’s primary pumping chamber, and abnormal ventricular function is a common cause of heart disease. Dr. Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist at the Heart Hospital at Baylor in Plano, Texas adds, “Abdominal fat produces a wide range of inflammatory substances, and is more highly correlated with heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes than other types of fat. We know that heavier people are more likely to have stiffer hearts, which in turn can predispose to heart failure. This study shows us that fat in the abdominal area is especially harmful to heart function.”
American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, Chicago, April 2016
Diet: A Healthy Diet Keeps the Brain Working!
Dutch researchers reviewed the health records and available lifestyle data of 2,165 seniors and found those whose diet was richest in fruits, vegetables, and fish were 76% less likely to experience any cognitive impairments. Their finding suggests consuming a healthy diet may prevent or slow the development of mild cognitive impairment, as well as more serious forms of dementia.
Journal of Nutrition, Health, & Aging, May 2016
Exercise: Effective Against Hot Flashes.
Hot flashes are a common complaint among menopausal women. In this study, 95 menopausal women participated in a six-month exercise program while 64 refrained from regular exercise as part of a control group. During the course of the study, the researchers found the women who exercised experienced improvements in the frequency of their hot flashes, and these improvements continued to persist to some degree up to four years later. This adds to a growing body of research that an active lifestyle can help reduce the impact of hot flashes among women during menopause.
Maturitas, June 2016
Chiropractic: Arthritis Increases Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition often treated by chiropractors. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed, generating the symptoms associated with CTS such as numbness, tingling, and loss of grip strength. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of inflammatory and degenerative arthritis on carpal tunnel syndrome has revealed that both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis nearly double an individual’s risk for developing CTS.
Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, March 2016
Wellness/Prevention: Tracking Your Health.
Experts say that keeping a health journal can help you better answer your healthcare provider’s questions. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends recording the following information: past illnesses or injuries, hospitalizations, past surgeries, allergies, family medical history, and supplement, vitamin, and medication use.
American Academy of Family Physicians, April 2016