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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The new issue of *Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine* (vol.
163, #6, June) includes an article: "Peace of Mind and Sense of Purpose
as Core Existential Issues Among Parents of Children With Cancer."

The authors are Jennifer W. Mack, MD, MPH; Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH; E.
Francis Cook, ScD; Holcombe E. Grier, MD; Paul D. Cleary, PhD; & Jane C.
Weeks, MD, MSc.

Here are parts of the abstract:

The objective was to evaluate issues experienced by parents of children with cancer and
factors related to parents' ability to find peace of mind.

One hundred ninety-four parents of children with cancer (response rate,
70%) in the first year of cancer treatment were involved.

The main Outcome Measure was the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-
being sense of meaning subscale. This taps peace of mind and sense of purpose.

Most parents had a strong sense of purpose, but lacked peace of mind 
representing the strongest sense of peace or purpose. Parents had higher 
peace of mind scores when they also reported that
they trusted the oncologist's judgment, that the oncologist had disclosed
detailed prognostic information, and that
the oncologist had provided high-quality information about the cancer.
Peace of mind was not associated with prognosis or time since diagnosis.

Conclusions  

Physicians may be able to facilitate formulation of peace of mind by
giving parents high-quality medical information, including prognostic
information, and facilitating parents' trust.

Courtesy of Ken Pope

This morning *Atlantic Monthly* placed an article from its June issue
online: “What Makes Us Happy?” by Joshua Wolf Shenk.

Here’s the intro: “Is there a formula–some mix of love, work, and
psychological adaptation–for a good life?  For 72 years, researchers at
Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered
college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce,
parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age.

Here’s an excerpt: “Begun in 1937 as a study of healthy, well-adjusted
Harvard sophomores (all male), it has followed its subjects for more
than 70 years.”

Another excerpt: “Bock assembled a team that spanned medicine,
physiology, anthropology, psychiatry, psychology, and social work, and
was advised by such luminaries as the psychiatrist Adolf Meyer and the
psychologist Henry Murray. Combing through health data, academic
records, and recommendations from the Harvard dean, they chose 268
students–mostly from the classes of 1942, ’43, and ’44–and measured them
from every conceivable angle and with every available scientific tool.”

Another excerpt: “What allows people to work, and love, as they grow
old? By the time the Grant Study men had entered retirement, Vaillant,
who had then been following them for a quarter century, had identified
seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and
psychologically.”

Another excerpt: “What factors don’t matter? Vaillant identified some
surprises. Cholesterol levels at age 50 have nothing to do with health
in old age. While social ease correlates highly with good psychosocial
adjustment in college and early adulthood, its significance diminishes
over time. The predictive importance of childhood temperament also
diminishes over time: shy, anxious kids tend to do poorly in young
adulthood, but by age 70, are just as likely as the outgoing kids to be
‘happy-well.’ Vaillant sums up: ‘f you follow lives long enough, the
risk factors for healthy life adjustment change. There is an age to
watch your cholesterol and an age to ignore it.'”

Another excerpt: “The study has yielded some additional subtle
surprises. Regular exercise in college predicted late-life mental health
better than it did physical health. And depression turned out to be a
major drain on physical health: of the men who were diagnosed with
depression by age 50, more than 70 percent had died or were chronically
ill by 63. More broadly, pessimists seemed to suffer physically in
comparison with optimists, perhaps because they’re less likely to
connect with others or care for themselves.”

The article is online at:
<http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200906/happiness&gt;.

courtesy of Ken Pope list

Today’s *Vancouver Sun* includes an article: “Ancient Buddhism and
modern psychology; Both practices are focused on releasing followers
from suffering, and both aim for emotional health” by Douglas Todd.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

‘Everybody’s a Buddhist now.”  That’s what a Vancouver yoga studio owner
recently said, a wry twinkle in her eye.

She was noticing how many of her yoga students were joining western
nature lovers, spiritual seekers and global pacifists in describing
themselves as followers of the 2,500-year-old Asian tradition.

Most of them were finding their entrée into Buddhism through meditation
and the healing arts….

There are many natural links between Buddhism and psychology.

(more…)

The *British Medical Journal* issued the following news release about an
article appearing in one of its associated journals (*Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health*):

Half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by five years

Long-term wine consumption is related to cardiovascular mortality and
life expectancy independently of moderate alcohol intake

Drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by
five years–at least in men–suggests research published ahead of print in
the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The Dutch authors base their findings on a total of 1,373 randomly
selected men whose cardiovascular health and life expectancy at age 50
were repeatedly monitored between 1960 and 2000.

(more…)

Rush University Medical Center issued the following news release:

Depression linked with accumulation of visceral fat

Study explains association between depression and cardiovascular disease

Numerous studies have shown that depression is associated with an
increased risk of heart disease, but exactly how has never been clear.

Now, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have shown that
depression is linked with the accumulation of visceral fat, the kind of
fat packed between internal organs at the waistline, which has long been
known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

(more…)

The American Physiological Society issued the following news release:

Laughter remains good medicine

New study reports on the mind-emotion-disease model

The connection between the body, mind and spirit has been the subject of conventional scientific inquiry for some 20 years. The notion that psychosocial and societal considerations have a role in maintaining health and preventing disease became crystallized as a result of the experiences of a layman, Norman Cousins. In the 1970s, Cousins, then a writer and magazine editor of the popular Saturday Review, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. He theorized that if stress could worsen his condition, as some evidence suggested at the time, then positive emotions could improve his health. As a result, he prescribed himself, with the approval of his doctor, a regimen of humorous videos and shows like Candid Camera(c). Ultimately, the disease went into remission and Cousins wrote a paper that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness: A Patient’s Perspective, which was published in 1979. The book became a best seller and led to the investigation of a new field, known then as whole-person care or integrative medicine and now, lifestyle medicine.

Points from the news release:

  • Beta-endorphins elevate mood state
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) helps with optimizing immunity
  • Cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) are detrimental stress hormones that negatively affect immunity if chronically released.
  • A group of 10 diabetics with hypertensoin and high cholesterol were assigned regularly to watch funny videos for 30 minutes. Over 12 months, their blood chemistry was compared to 10 matching people who were not made to laugh.
  • Adding laughter standard diabetes care may lower stress and inflammatory response and increase “good” cholesterol levels. The authors conclude that mirthful laughter may thus lower the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

In describing himself as a “hardcore medical clinician and scientist,” Dr. Berk says, “the best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.

More details follow:

(more…)