Monthly Archives: September, 2014

How physical exercise protects the brain from stress-induced depression.

badminton-player-isolated-on-white-background-100204162For years, exercise has been recognized as an effective way to prevent stress-induced depression, yet until now the mechanism had not been understood. It was initially believed that trained skeletal muscle produced a substance protective towards the brain. However, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shared their findings using mice models showing something different. Instead of generating a protective substance in the body, the exercised skeletal muscle produces an enzyme that helps to excrete damaging, stress-related substances from the blood. Depression remains to be a widely misunderstood disorder, but this research reinforces the importance of exercise in its treatment and could provide insight into novel therapies.  What other non-pharmacological interventions do you recommend to patients who experience stress-induced depression?

 

 

For additional information, please visit ScienceDaily.

 

“Image courtesy of [anankkml]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

NIH and VA address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families: Research will focus on nondrug approaches.

medicine-100176550Chronic pain and associated conditions have increasingly become a problem in the United States, especially in those who are currently serving or have served military time for our country. Thirteen research projects, which are to be funded $21.7 million within the next five years by the U.S. Veteran’s Affairs, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and National Institute on Drug Abuse, will investigate non-pharmacological treatments for these conditions. Due to the current increase in opiate prescribing and abuse, alternative options are to be further explored. The research will investigate skills which can better manage symptoms of their conditions and prevent their progression. This is expected to help more appropriately treat these patients while driving down healthcare costs and curbing the overuse or misuse of opiate medications.

What do you think about the current opiate prescribing practices in this patient population? How do you currently manage patients with pain and related conditions?

 

For additional information, please visit NIH.

 

“Image courtesy of [voraorn]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

 

Soda Producers Set Goals on Cutting U.S. Beverage Calories

colaRecognizing that they are a part of the obesity problem in the United States, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co, and Dr.Pepper Snapple Group have come to an agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to pledge to cut calories consumed by beverages by 20% by the year 2025. Their plan is to create smaller portion sizes, as well as promote water and non-calorie options more effectively. Due to a cap on sugary drink portions now in effect in New York, a soda ban in schools, and a possible tax on these soft drinks in San Francisco in the near future, this may be their attempt to stay appealing to customers. Since the peak of soda sales in 1998, the amount of calories consumed by Americans from sugary drinks has decreased by 23 percent due to an increased concern with our health. As the general population has become more conscious of disease states such as diabetes, they have started to opt for healthier options, including water and beverages that do not contain aspartame. Still, experts agree that more needs to be done in order to decrease obesity rates.

How do you feel about more aggressive government-instituted restrictions on these products?  How comfortable would you be with instituting potential penalties on these companies if they cannot fulfill their promise by 2025?

To read more, please visit WSJ.

“Image courtesy of [Naypong]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”