Author Archive: joannawchung

Cognitive benefits from laughter

HorseHow often do you laugh? Studies have shown laughter is beneficial in increasing blood flow to areas of the brain reducing stress and anxiety, but a new study presented at the recent Experimental Biology meeting found that humor showed beneficial effects in memory loss as well. The results of the EEG in seniors were tested for visual recognition, learning ability and recall memory tests showed improvements as well as reduced cortisol in their brains, believed to help avoid memory brain cell death. What are some strategies to help increase laughter in your life and for your patients?

For additional information, please visit Medical Daily

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Highly educated brains recover better from injury

BrainCan a higher education do more than get you a better salary? Results of a new study published in Neurology suggests that a higher education may help provide some cognitive protection from traumatic brain injury. The study found people with a college education were four times more likely to recover and return to work or school with no disability compared to those who did not finish high school. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, a few theories suggest that the brain can develop better coping strategies when knowledge expands with higher education. What are some of your favorite strategies in exercising your brain?

For additional information, please visit NBC

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Naps linked with higher risk of death

NapHow often do you nap during the day? Recent studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology have suggested that daytime napping might be a useful marker of underlying health risks. The European study found adults, ages 40-79, who napped for less than an hour a day were likely to die over a 13-year period and those who napped over an hour were at an even higher risk of death. The study notes that there are many factors that could contribute to the higher likelihood of death associated with naps such as sleep apnea, comorbid conditions, age, gender and BMI. What are some of the reasons why you or your patients nap during the day? What recommendations do you provide for getting a better night’s sleep? 

For additional information, please visit Fox News

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In the severely obese, vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility

LazyThose with vitamin D deficiency, especially among New Englanders, are linked to a multitude of health risks. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that those who were obese and vitamin D deficient walked slower and were less physically active than their comparators who were not deficient.  The results of this study suggest that vitamin D status may contribute to the reduction of physical functioning, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. What are some ways you encourage or increase physical activity in your patients? How does this study influence your recommendation of vitamin D?

For additional information, please visit Medical News Today

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Study finds brain changes in young marijuana users

MarijuanaAs a growing number of states legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, the negative effects are beginning to surface in research. A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience scanned the brains of forty young adults from Boston University who smoked marijuana. Results of the brain scans revealed that among those who smoked more, a portion of their brain was structurally altered; the part that is involved with decision making, motivation, and emotional behavior. It is important that results of this small study cannot be generalized, however, it serves as a foundation for further research on marijuana smoking and potentially permanent cognitive abnormalities. How will the findings of this study influence the acceptance of recreational versus medical marijuana?  What recommendations would you give to your patient seeking marijuana?

 

For additional information, please visit The Boston Globe

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Teens say selfies give a confidence boost

SelfieThe idea of selfies has become a nationwide trending activity, for teens and adolescents. The idea of autonomy or controlling your own world is the basis ongoing research from Media Psychology Research Center, which has utilized this trend as a tool to boost self-esteem. They claim, ‘its the first time you get to be the photographer AND the subject of the photograph.”  The results of TODAY/AOL Body Image survey revealed 65% of teenage girls said social media actually boosts their confidence. As a new method of self-expression, selfies serve as a window to boost confidence by highlighting and empowering the youth public expression. How do you utilize social media to express yourself? What strategies do you recommend to your patients to boost their self-esteem?

 

For additional information visit TODAY

For information on ongoing research with social media, Media Psychology Research Center

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Grocery coupons can encourage healthful eating

SaleWe all receive those grocery flyers and coupons in the mail; most of the sale items are associated with processed foods, snacks, and sugared beverages. What if there was a way to encourage purchases of healthier foods such as vegetables and fruits?  A recent study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal, Prevent Chronic Disease decided to put produce couponing to the test. Linkwell Health, a marketing company  sent coupons, recipes, and information on healthful diets to patients enrolled in a health insurance plan who had chronic health problems associated with poor diets. The study reported results of improved purchases of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood. What are some strategies you can recommend to your patients to encourage them to purchase a more healthful diet?

 

 

For additional information, please visit The Washington Post

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Sitting too much: how bad is it?

SittingSeveral research studies have come to the same conclusion that sitting for long hours may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, worsening mental health and risk of being disabled even with a consistent exercise regimen. Furthermore, results of a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, reported study participants who sat for more than 11 hours daily were at highest risk of mortality during the 12- year follow up. Sitting can lead to an increase in appetite and reduced muscle movement; thus the article suggests to break up sitting time about every half hour at work or home. How much time do you spend sitting daily? What are some methods you would recommend to your patients on how to reduce sitting time?

The article can be found at WebMD

Image courtesy of [Danh Nguyen]

The finish line is closer than you think

JogWe are traditionally taught that exercise promotes a healthier lifestyle, however, where do we draw the line at too much exercise. Recent study performed by the American College of Cardiology suggests that those who run more than 20 miles a week do not have an increased life expectancy compared to those who run less. The article references a 2012 study performed by the Mayo Clinic suggest that excessive training may cause cardiovascular damage. With this being said, the author notes that like everything in life, moderation is key. How will this information change your workout and your recommendations to your patients?

The article can be found at CNN

The study can be found at ACC

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Watermelon could help lower blood pressure

watermelonA new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension suggests that consuming watermelon may help lower blood pressure and have positive impact on other vascular parameters. This cross-over study evaluated the effects of watermelon extracts in 13 middle-aged obese patients suffering from high blood pressure. What other foods do you recommend your patients who are trying to decrease their blood pressure?

 

For additional information, please visit Science Daily

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