Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mind Massage - Happiness Gene, Obesity Gene, Coffee Breath Mint, Alcohol and Deaths

My Articles on the Internet:

Happiness Gene Discovered

Researchers at Tel Aviv University suggest that happiness may be in our genes. Professor Yoram Barak of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine is trying to find the happiness gene, which he says may be fifty percent responsible for happiness and a positive outlook. Happiness is not always easy to come by. For those without a genetic predisposition, finding happiness may be even more difficult. Read more

Obesity Linked to Brain

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have isolated a new gene found in the central nervous system that increases risk of obesity. The gene is the third that links obesity to the brain. The new discovery of the obesity gene may explain the connection between the brain and obesity in individuals who possess a variance of the NRXN3 gene. Read more

Coffee Breath Mint Could Eliminate Halitosis

Breath specialist Professor Mel Rosenberg of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine says contrary to popular belief, coffee does not cause bad breath. In fact, coffee may be more effective than a breath mint because it can really cure halitosis rather than masking it. Components in coffee are now found to reduce bacteria in the mouth that cause bad breath. Read more

Alcohol Causes One in Twenty Five Deaths

Alcohol abuse is now found to cause one in twenty five deaths worldwide. A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada (CAMH) shows that the increased incidence of alcohol related deaths is primarily attributed to more women consuming alcohol. Alcohol addiction occurs mostly in younger people. The study targets alcohol as a major contributor to disease worldwide. Read more

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Treating Periodontal Disease may Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

New research shows that fifty-six percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also have periodontal disease. Studies continue to show the link between inflammation and gum disease and overall health. Individuals with periodontal disease also displayed more symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including elevated anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) antibodies, according to findings from researchers at Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Hospital, Iasi, Romania.

Treating rheumatoid arthritis was also found to help periodontal disease in the study. After six months of RA treatment with anti-TNF therapy, used to prevent destruction of joints from rheumatoid arthritis, 20 out of 25 individuals studied showed significant improvement in the health of their teeth and gums.

According to Dr Codrina Ancuta who led the study, "There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate an association between periodontal disease and systemic conditions involving inflammatory rheumatic disease (especially RA), cardiovascular disease and diabetes”. The link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis is not surprising, given the mounting evidence that inflammation from periodontal disease can also lead to other systemic disease.

Studies presented recently at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark (EULAR) also showed that just having periodontal disease increased the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Among forty-five individuals studied who had rheumatoid arthritis, blood testing revealed that having moderate to severe periodontal disease was also associated with increased markers in the blood, indicating more severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, many individuals forgo dental exams, especially those who are uninsured. Investing in the health of your teeth and gums has widespread implications for better health. The new study shows a significant link between periodontal disease and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Taking care to prevent periodontal disease, combined with known treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, appears to limit symptoms for both diseases.

European League Against Rheumatism


Monday, June 8, 2009

Creative Problem Solving Easier with REM Naps

A new study shows that taking a nap can help with creative problem solving. Rather than waiting to figure things out, new problems can be easier solved by taking a quality nap – more precisely, a nap complete with REM (rapid eye movement).

The study, conducted by Sara Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and first author Denise Cai, graduate student in the UC San Diego Department of Psychology reveals that REM sleep affects the brain in such a way that creative processes are stimulated.

Dr. Mednick says, "We found that – for creative problems that you've already been working on – the passage of time is enough to find solutions. However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity." We have to wonder if a nap might become acceptable at work when new problems arise – Dr. Menick’s research suggests that the brain works better to solve problems by connecting associations between previously unrelated ideas during REM naps.

It is not just the quiet and lack of distraction associated with a nap that makes problem solving easier. To test the association between problem solving and taking a nap, the researchers gave a word association task to three groups of study participants, called a Remote Associates Test (RAT). The groups were asked to find a word to associate with three other words.

All of the groups were tested in the morning and again in the afternoon. One group was given quiet time, one group just rested, and a third group had a nap with REM sleep prior to the afternoon session. "Although the quiet rest and non-REM sleep groups received the same prior exposure to the task, they displayed no improvement on the RAT test. Strikingly, however, the REM sleep group improved by almost 40 percent over their morning performances”, says Denise Cai.

The authors concluded that taking a nap, complete with REM sleep, helps brain function by forming new networks, facilitating creative problem solving.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Tai Chi Reduces Arthritis Pain

Researchers from The George Institute in Sydney, Australia suggest that Tai Chi can improve quality of life for arthritis sufferers and reduce arthritis pain. Though no large studies have been performed, an analysis of existing data suggests that Tai Chi not only reduces arthritis pain, relaxes, but it also leads to an improved outlook regarding overall health status.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that can be practiced alone or in groups. Reduction in arthritis pain is shown to occur with exercise, but Tai Chi is not considered a conventional form of exercise regularly prescribed for those suffering from arthritis in clinical settings.

The study, published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research, analyzed the results of seven controlled studies that used Tai Chi as a primary intervention for reducing arthritis pain, disability, physical function and quality of life. The findings show that Tai Chi can reduce arthritis pain.

The study, led by Amanda Hall of The George Institute in Sydney, Australia suggests that Tai Chi exercises should be supported to help arthritis pain. The authors write, “The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis.”

Placebo controlled trials are needed to further the study of Tai Chi for reducing arthritis pain and improving functional status. The analysis shows that Tai Chi should be investigated as a useful modality to help arthritis sufferers improve quality of life, improve functional status, and reduce musculoskeletal pain associated with arthritis.