Tag Archives: Stress

More College Freshmen Report Having Felt Depressed

ID-10065994An increasing number of freshmen are feeling depressed and overwhelmed, according to an annual survey. “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014,” surveyed over 150,000 students and found that 9.5% of respondents had frequently “felt depressed” during the past year, a significant rise over the 6.1% reported 5 years ago. Those who “felt overwhelmed” by schoolwork and other commitments rose to 34.6 percent from 27.1 percent.“It’s a public health issue,” said Dr. Anthony L. Rostain, a psychiatrist and co-chairman of a University of Pennsylvania task force on students’ emotional health. “We’re expecting more of students: There’s a sense of having to compete in a global economy, and they think they have to be on top of their game all the time. It’s no wonder they feel overwhelmed.” The survey also reported that students are spending less time watching television and surprisingly, a decline in drinking and smoking cigarettes among college freshman. How do you speak to young people about stress? What are your favorite strategies in dealing with stress?

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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.


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Protein May Hold the Key to Who Gets Alzheimer’s

dream designsCognitive decline and memory problems of Alzheimer’s disease may be related to a failure in the brain’s stress response system. The protein (REST) is found in the brains of developing fetuses and regulates by switching off genes to keep fetal neurons in an immature state until enough development is needed for proper brain function. REST is the most active gene regulator in elderly brains and appears to protect neurons in healthy older people from age-related stresses. People with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and other types of dementia have a depletion of REST in the key brain regions associated with memory. Dr. Yankner, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and lead author, and his team discovered REST switches off genes that promote cell death, protects neurons from normal aging, inflammation and oxidative stress. The researchers analyzed the brains of young adults ages 20 to 35 and found they contained little REST, while healthy adults between ages 73 to 106 had plenty. Possible development of new drugs for dementia may be seen in the future once more research and findings are established for REST protein. What are your thoughts about this research?

For additional information, please see The New York Times.

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Seven tips for a stress-free vacation – Have a great Spring Break!

winnondVacation may become another source of stress for some people. Here are seven tips to keep in mind if you are traveling or vacationing for spring break.

1. Plan ahead. Plan excursions, travel and accommodations ahead of time.

2. Craft a budget. Figure out how much you want to spend prior to leaving therefore you can enjoy the vacation and not think about budget.

3. Choose your companions wisely. Vacation with family and close friends to minimize frustration.

4. Allow time to unwind. Be able to incorporate room for some down time between activities.

5. Try new things. Experiment with something new mentally and physically, like taking a walk down the beach.

6. Remember to refuel and stay hydrated.

7. Take a deep breath. Unexpected delays or miscommunication may arise, instead of feeling miserable, relax and enjoy your time away.

What strategies do you typically recommend your patients to unwind stress-free?

For additional information, please see Fox News.

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Angry people ‘risking heart attacks’

imagerymajesticPeople with hot tempers may be at an increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Within the two hour period following an angry outburst, the risk of a heart attack is increased by five-fold while the risk of a stroke is increased by three-fold. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health calculated that five angry episodes a day would result in 158 heart attacks per 10,000 people with a low cardiovascular risk per year, and increase to 657 heart attacks per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk per year. Even though having an acute cardiovascular event is relatively low with a single angry outburst, temper-prone individuals will be at a higher risk. What are some possible suggestions for your patients to help them cope with stress and anger? What dietary recommendations can be beneficial for your patients dealing with stress?

For additional information, please see BBC News Health.

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Ways to deal with holiday stress

With Thanksgiving being only a few days away, and other holidays approaching, the need to cook, entertain and shop for holiday gifts can be stressful. US News Health & Wellness shares some helpful tips to manage holiday stress:

  • Plan ahead and start early. Starting early can lead to efficient use of time, especially if there are lots to prepare.
  • Always eat breakfast. Breakfast can be very important because it can keep your energy level high throughout the day.
  • Ask others for help. This method will allow for the cooking and setting-up to occur faster, and lower one’s stress.
  • Get enough sleep. Every person needs to rest, and a good night’s sleep is always rejuvenating.

How do you manage your stress during the holidays?

For more tips, please click here.

Overweight Adolescents and Life Events in Childhood

Obesity is a known problem in the United States, but what can we do to prevent it? A recently published study reviewed the relationship between negative stressors and the risk of obesity in children. The study included mothers of obese children who completed surveys of events that occurred to their child at age 4, 9, and 11. These events were then categorized into family health and well-being, parental work, school, or financial stability, emotional aspects of relationships, and family structure, routine, and caregiving. The results showed that high exposure to negative stressors increased the risk of obesity in children 15 years old by 47%.  What stress reliever works best for you?

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Looking at stressors “in a positive light” only helpful in some

If you have ever looked a situation in a “more positive light”, you have practiced cognitive reappraisal. According to a study published in Psychological Science, cognitive reappraisal is beneficial in improving depression but only in situations that are uncontrollable. In the study, Allison Troy and colleagues recruited subjects who had a recent stressful life event. The subjects’ cognitive reappraisal ability (CRA) was measured by having them watch sad films and using cognitive reappraisal amongst other tests. Troy found that despite having high CRA, people in stressful situations that were controllable (i.e. poor performance at work) had higher level of depression compared to those who have uncontrollable situations. Troy also adds that cognitive reappraisal may negatively impact these situations because people would be “less inclined to attempt to change the situation.” What are some other methods/coping mechanisms to reduce depression from different life stressors?

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Could Midlife Stress be Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease Later?

According to a 38-year long longitudinal study published in the British Medical Journal,  stressed middle-aged women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Researchers surveyed 800 Swedish women who were at least 38 years old from 1967 until 2005 evaluating their mental health and wellbeing at least once every decade. The women would report stressful life events such as divorce, widowhood or illness and how distressed they felt by those events. Researchers found that for each additional stressor women reported, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increased by about 20 percent. What are your thoughts about the study? What do you normally recommend to patients who are stressed?

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Stressful childhood linked to heart risk in later life

 ID-10062109A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that children who are more likely to stress at the age of 7 were more apt to have cardiovascular disease later in life. This was especially prevalent in the females they studied.  The good news is that children who are better at paying attention and staying focused have reduced heart risk when they got older.  This study illustrates that stress management plays a big role on the overall health.  How do you deal with stress in your life?  What therapies do you suggest in your practice patients who are stressed?

For additional information, please visit BBC.  “Image courtesy of “[David Castillo ]/freedigitalphotos.net