Mind, body & health


The new issue of *Archives of Internal Medicine* (Vol. 170, No. 4,
February 22) includes an article: “The Effect of Exercise Training on
Anxiety Symptoms Among Patients: A Systematic Review.”

The authors are Matthew P. Herring, MS, MEd, Patrick J. O’Connor, PhD, & Rodney K. Dishman, PhD.

Here’s how the article starts:

[begin excerpt]

Anxiety, an unpleasant mood characterized by thoughts of worry, is an
adaptive response to perceived threats that can develop into a
maladaptive anxiety disorder if it becomes severe and chronic.1

Anxiety symptoms and disorders are common among individuals with a
chronic illness,2-8  yet health care providers often fail to recognize
or treat anxiety and may consider it to be an unimportant response to a
chronic illness.9

Anxiety symptoms can have a negative impact on treatment outcomes in
part because anxious patients can be less likely to adhere to prescribed
medical treatments.10-11

Personal costs of anxiety among patients include reduced health-related
quality of life12 and increased disability, role impairment,13 and
health care visits.14
(more…)

The European Society of Cardiology issued the following news release
about a study published today in the *European Heart Journal*:

Don’t worry, be happy!  Positive emotions protect against heart disease

People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely
to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according
to a major new study published today (Thursday 18 February).

The authors believe that the study, published in the Europe’s leading
cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal [1], is the first to show
such an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary
heart disease.
(more…)

The Medical College of Wisconsin issued the following news release:

Heart Disease Patients Who Practice Transcendental Meditation Have
Nearly 50% Lower Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Death

Results of first-ever study presented at annual meeting of the American
Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation(R) technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates
of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls,
according to the results of a first-ever study presented during the
annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on
Nov.16, 2009.
(more…)

Can Acetaminophen Ease Psychological Pain?

Headaches and heartaches. Broken bones and broken spirits. Hurting
bodies and hurt feelings. We often use the same words to describe
physical and mental pain. Over-the-counter pain relieving drugs have
long been used to alleviate physical pain, while a host of other
medications have been employed in the treatment of depression and
anxiety. But is it possible that a common painkiller could serve double
duty, easing not just the physical pains of sore joints and headaches,
but also the pain of social rejection? A research team led by
psychologist C. Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky College of
Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology has uncovered evidence
indicating that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) may
blunt social pain.

“The idea–that a drug designed to alleviate physical pain should reduce
the pain of social rejection–seemed simple and straightforward based on
what we know about neural overlap between social and physical pain
systems. To my surprise, I couldn’t find anyone who had ever tested this
idea,” DeWall said.
(more…)

From BBC News today:

Loneliness makes cancer ‘more likely and deadly’

Doctors know depressed cancer patients have poorer survival rates. Fresh evidence adds weight to suggestions that loneliness makes cancer both more likely and deadly.  Work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows social isolation tips the odds in favour of aggressive cancer growth.

Rodents kept alone developed more tumours – and tumours of a more deadly type – than rats living as a group. The researchers put it down to stress and say the same may well be true in humans. Cancer experts say more work is needed to prove such a link in people. Lead investigator Gretchen Hermes, of Yale University, said: “There is growing interest in relationships between the environment, emotion and disease. “This study offers insight into how the social world gets under the skin.”

Stress

Doctors already know that cancer patients who are depressed tend to fare worse in terms of survival.  And previous research has suggested that social support can improve health outcomes for patients with breast cancer. In the latest study, the researchers found that isolation and stress trebled the risk of breast cancer in the naturally sociable Norway rats. Outcast rodents developed 84 times the amount of tumours as those living in tight-knit social groups, and the tumours also proved to be more aggressive. The isolated mammals also had higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and took longer to recover from a stressful situation than fellow Norway rats.  The researchers ultimately hope their work will help cancer patients.

Lifestyle

Co-researcher Martha McClintock, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, said: “We need to use these findings to identify potential targets for intervention to reduce cancer.”  Ed Yong, of Cancer Research UK, said: “This study was done in rats. “Overall, research in humans does not suggest there is a direct link between stress and breast cancer. “But it’s possible that stressful situations could indirectly affect the risk of cancer by making people more likely to take up unhealthy behaviours that increase their risk, such as overeating, heavy drinking, or smoking.”

BBC News released an article: ” Hypnosis has ‘real’ brain
effect.”

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Hypnosis has a “very real” effect that can be picked up on brain scans,
say Hull University researchers.

An imaging study of hypnotised participants showed decreased activity in
the parts of the brain linked with daydreaming or letting the mind wander.

The same brain patterns were absent in people who had the tests but who
were not susceptible to being hypnotised.

One psychologist said the study backed the theory that hypnosis “primes”
the brain to be open to suggestion.
(more…)

The Medical College of Wisconsin issued the following news release:

Heart Disease Patients Who Practice Transcendental Meditation Have
Nearly 50% Lower Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Death

Results of first-ever study presented at annual meeting of the American
Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation(R) technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates
of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls,
according to the results of a first-ever study presented during the
annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on
Nov.16, 2009.
(more…)

 

6 Oct 09 *New York Times* includes an article: “Exploring the
Health Benefits of Pets” by Michal Czerwonka.
Here are some excerpts:
[begin excerpts]
When Chad, a yellow Labrador retriever, moved in with Claire Vaccaro’s
family in Manhattan last spring, he already had an important role. As an
autism service dog, he was joining the family to help protect Ms.
Vaccaro’s 11-year-old son, Milo — especially in public, where he often
had tantrums or tried to run away.
Like many companion animals, whether service dogs or pets, Chad had an
immediate effect — the kind of effect that is noticeable but has yet to
be fully understood through scientific study.
And it went beyond the tether that connects dog and boy in public.
“Within, I would say, a week, I noticed enormous changes,” Ms. Vaccaro
said of Milo, whose autism impairs his ability to communicate and form
social bonds.
“More and more changes have happened over the months as their bond has
grown. He’s much calmer. He can concentrate for much longer periods of
time. It’s almost like a cloud has lifted.”
Dr. Melissa A. Nishawala, clinical director of the autism-spectrum
service at the Child Study Center at New York University, said she saw
“a prominent and noticeable change” in Milo, even though the dog just
sat quietly in the room.
“He started to give me narratives in a way he never did,” she said,
adding that most of them were about the dog.
The changes have been so profound that Ms. Vaccaro and Dr. Nishawala are
starting to talk about weaning Milo from some of his medication.
Anecdotes abound on the benefits of companion animals — whether service
and therapy animals or family pets — on human health.
But in-depth studies have been rare. Now the Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the
National Institutes of Health, is embarking on an effort to study
whether these animals can have a tangible effect on children’s well-being.
In partnership with the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in England
(part of the Mars candy and pet food company), the child health
institute is seeking proposals that “focus on the interaction between
humans and animals.”
In particular, it is looking for studies on how these interactions
affect typical development and health, and whether they have therapeutic
and public-health benefits.
It also invites applications for studies that “address why relationships
with pets are more important to some children than to others” and that
“explore the quality of child-pet relationships, noting variability of
human-animal relationships within a family.”
<snip>
People working with animals expect the research to back up their
observations.
At Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Southern California, for
instance, dozens of volunteers regularly take their dogs to visit
patients. Children being treated for serious illnesses often have the
blues, anxiety or depression.
“The dogs brighten them up,” said Emily Grankowski, who oversees the pet
therapy program at the hospital.
Some patients who have refused to speak will talk to the dogs, she said,
and others who have refused to move often reach for the dogs so they can
pet them.
So the animals become part of the therapeutic program, especially in the
areas involving speech and movement.
“The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the
heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can,” said
Karin Winegar, whose book “Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They
Transform” (Da Capo, 2008) chronicles human-animal interactions.
“We’ve seen this from coast to coast, whether it’s disabled children at
a riding center in California or a nursing home in Minnesota, where a
woman with Alzheimer’s could not recognize her husband but she could
recognize their beloved dog.”
[end excerpts]
The article is online at:
Clipping courtesy of Ken Pope

 

The *European Journal of Neurology* issued the following news release:
High unexpressed anger in MS patients linked to nervous system damage,
not disease severity
People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) feel more than twice as much
withheld anger as the general population and this could have an adverse
effect on their relationships and health, according to a study published
in the December issue of the European Journal of Neurology.
Italian researchers assessed 195 patients with MS, using a range of
scales that measure anger, depression and anxiety, and then compared
them with the general population.
They were surprised by the results, which showed that while patients
experienced almost twice the normal level of withheld anger and exerted
low levels of control on their anger, their expressed anger levels were
similar to the general population.
This, together with the fact that the elevated withheld anger levels
were not related to the severity of the patients’ MS, suggests that
these inconsistent changes were caused by nervous system damage, rather
than an emotional reaction to the stress of the disease.
“We believe that the higher levels of withheld anger shown by the study
subjects is due to demyelination, loss of the substance in the white
matter that insulates the nerve endings and helps people receive and
interpret messages from the brain” explains lead researcher Dr Ugo
Nocentini from the IRCCS S Lucia Foundation in Rome.

Adults who suffer migraine headaches are more apt to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population, a new study suggests. And having PTSD and migraine may lead to greater headache-related disability.

Excerpts follow:

<snip>

Among a group of 593 adults with migraine, PTSD was present in roughly 30 percent of those who suffered chronic daily headaches and about 22 percent of those with “episodic” migraine headaches. By comparison, approximately 8 percent of the population is estimated to have PTSD.

<snip>

“The implications are such that abuse causes not just psychological distress from PTSD but also physical pain such as migraine,” Peterlin said, and there is an increased disability seen in those migraine sufferers with PTSD than those without PTSD.

<snip>

SOURCE: Headache April 2009.
The full article can be found at
http://www.canada.com/news/Post+traumatic+stress+common+migraine+sufferers/1461579/story.html

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