Mental Attitude: Online Courses for Stress Reduction?
While mindfulness training in a 1-on-1 setting has been shown to be beneficial for reducing perceived stress, anxiety, and depression, researchers at the University of Oxford wondered if such training delivered via the internet would be as effective. A group of 273 participants completed an online mindfulness course that consisted of 10 sessions over an average time span of four weeks. Following the course, outcome assessments showed reductions in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression similar to those reported by participants who experienced in-person trainings.
BMJ Open, February 2014
Health Alert: Amazing!
Scientists from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy have announced the first known instance of an amputee “feeling” the world via a state-of-the-art sensory-enhanced artificial hand. Sensations felt by the “hand” are converted into electrical impulses that communicate with the patient via wires that were surgically connected to nerves in his arm.
Science Translational Medicine, February 2014
Diet: The Mediterranean Diet and Firefighters.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits and previous studies have linked it to a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. However, these studies tend to focus on an older population, patients with existing health problems, and people who live in Mediterranean countries. In this study, the participants were firefighters living in the Mid-Western United States. The firefighters who most adhered to the diet had a 35% decreased risk for metabolic syndrome and were 43% less likely to gain weight compared with those who least followed the diet.
PLOS ONE, February 2014
Exercise: Play Team Sports!
Because of declining estrogen levels, menopausal women are at greater risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers found that menopausal women who participated in team-based sports for just twelve weeks had significant reductions in their blood pressure and improvements in blood vessel function, putting them at a 40% lower risk for stroke and a 20% lower risk for heart disease. As an added benefit, the majority of the women enjoyed the activity and were likely to continue participating after the study concluded.
AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, January 2014
Chiropractic: Just Two Treatments.
Nearly 200 adults with spinal pain were separated into two groups. One group received two chiropractic adjustments and the other received two sham adjustments so researchers could differentiate if results were the result of the adjustment itself or the expectation of treatment. Two weeks later, researchers assessed each group and found the adjustment group reported greater improvements in pain, better overall improvement, and higher satisfaction.
Spine, November 2013
Wellness/Prevention: Folic Acid and Pregnancy.
Despite decades of research recommending pregnant women take folic acid supplements in order to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects, only 31% of pregnant women in the United Kingdom (UK) do. Additionally, among women who had previously given birth to a baby with a neural tube defect, only 51% took a folic acid supplement during subsequent pregnancies. In the United States, Australia, and 74 other countries, some grain-based foods are fortified with folic acid in hopes of reducing the risk of these types of birth defects.
PLOS ONE, February 2014