Thursday, January 10, 2013
Diet drinks tied to depression
"Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical -- and may have important mental -- health consequences," said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.
People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea.
"Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk," said Chen. "More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Fwd: Rub-on pain relievers offer gentler arthritis relief, from the Jan. 2013 Harvard Men's Health Watch
Rub-on pain relievers offer kinder, gentler relief from arthritis pain, from the January 2013 Harvard Men's Health Watch
BOSTON—When joint pain cries out for relief but ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medicines upset the stomach, it may be worth trying a gentler alternative: anti-inflammatory pain relievers applied to the skin, not taken as a pill, reports the January 2013 issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch.
Pain relievers applied to the skin are called topical analgesics. Prescription versions, which usually deliver nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), come as creams, sprays, gels, or patches. The active ingredient soaks in through the skin to reach the pain. In contrast, oral pain relievers flood the whole body with the medication after being absorbed in the gut. The most widely available prescription topical NSAID in U.S. pharmacies is diclofenac gel.
"Topical pain relievers can be very helpful for the more superficial joints like the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, and hands," says Dr. Rosalyn Nguyen, a clinical instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. "In those areas, the medication can penetrate closer to the joint."
The source of pain usually determines if a topical pain reliever is appropriate. For a localized problem with just one joint causing the pain, there's no need for medication to travel throughout the body. A topical analgesic isn't that helpful when pain emanates across an extended area, like the lower back.
Keep in mind that even with a topical analgesic, a small amount of the NSAID gets into the bloodstream. That may be enough to cause trouble for among people who have had ulcers or experienced gastrointestinal bleeding with an oral NSAID.
Not ready to commit to a prescription topical drug? It might be worth trying an over-the-counter product such as Icy Hot or Bengay, which temporarily mask pain with a sensation of coolness or heat. Other topical analgesics contain aspirin-like salicylates that have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. A third type contains capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers so fiery. This substance overwhelms pain-sensing nerve circuits and masks the sensations from the underlying injury.
Read the full-length article: "Get rub-on relief for arthritis joint pain"
Also in the January 2013 issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch:
· What to expect from a prostate biopsy
· Harness the mind-body connection for healthier eating
· Fish, not fish oil, prevents stroke
· An update on the next generation of Alzheimer's drugs
The Harvard Men's Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at www.health.harvard.edu/mens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).
Achieve Weight and Money Goals
By Steve Repak
Congratulations on being one of the 48% of the population who actually made a New Year's resolution. Now for a reality check… less than 10% of you will actually be successful. Don't get discouraged but use that truth to light a fire under your butt and do something about it! Most resolutions that are made are by people who want to be in better physical shape or better fiscal shape. The GREAT news is that five simple steps that can help you accomplish BOTH!
Step 1: DO Something
The key word is DO! You are probably thinking that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion but the truth is that it is impossible to change what is going on in your life without doing something. Do is an ACTION verb so the first steps is to TAKE ACTION. I like to remind people that the hardest step is the first step! Many personal trainers tell their clients that the hardest weight to push when you finally decide to get into shape is the front door to the gym. The same is true with getting out of debt or saving money. It might not be as easy as opening a door but it is as easy as pulling out a Tupperware bowl, filling it with water, putting in your credit cards and then placing it in the freezer. Take action and make a commitment to yourself, and the toughest part will be behind you.
Step 2: Set Your Goals
Your goals need to be ACHIEVABLE, CHALLENGING, and SPECIFIC. If your goals are not achievable because you set them too high you will quickly become discouraged and eventually quit, but if you don't make your goals challenging, you won't see any REAL change. Finally, your goals need to be specific. Don't say your goal is to lose weight or to build up your savings. A better goal would be to lose 1-2 pounds weekly, 5 pounds in a month and by June you want to have lost 30 lbs. Don't say you want to have more money in the bank to be in better fiscal shape. A better goal would be to save at least $25 a week, $100 a month and by June you want to have an additional $600 in savings.
Step 3: Make a Plan and Write It Down
To start your plan, you will want to conduct an initial assessment. You have to KNOW where you are STARTING FROM to get to where YOU WANT TO BE. If your goal is to be able to complete a 5k run in June in less than an hour, how far and how fast can you run now? If your goal is to build your savings to $1,500 by year end, how much do you have in savings and how much are you saving now? Once you have conducted your initial assessment write it down. It might not be pleasant but use that reality as motivation instead of discouragement. Your next step is to develop a strategy to get you from your initial assessment to your ultimate goal. It is the "How" part of what you will have to DO. Put what you are going to DO in WRITING! A key point to always remember is that your plan needs to be flexible because there are going to be times when you might get thrown off track. Don't let getting off track be your excuse to QUIT! Deal with it, make any necessary adjustments, and get back on course. I can't stress this enough… PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING! There are several studies that show that people who write their plans down have a higher probability of achieving their goals than those that don't.
Step 4: Select an Accountability Partner
Your probability for success will increase by simply selecting someone who will keep you accountable for your decisions. I am not saying you need a personal trainer or you need to hire yourself a financial professional, but simply that you need to have someone that can help you stay on track with your goals. Pick a friend or a family member with a positive attitude who will provide you with encouragement and sometimes a swift kick in the rear end when you really need it. You will also want to maintain a journal where you record your progress. It could be a journal where you write down what you are eating at each meal, how much you are exercising each day, or maybe it is a financial journal in which you are itemizing exactly where and on what you are spending your money. Each week you want to meet with your partner and show them your journal. Knowing that you have to show someone your meal journal might make the difference in choosing between eating an entire pizza or a salad with reduced fat dressing.
Step 5: Fight Your Emotions
Getting into shape, whether it is better physical shape or better fiscal shape, will require you to keep a lid on your emotions and accept the fact that you have to change. Many people associate change with pain. Change doesn't have to be as painful if you can focus on the future prize instead of the present sacrifice. It's mind over matter. To lose weight will require change. Choosing between eating a bowl of ice-cream instead of snacking on some almonds will require a change in your eating habits. The same principle is in action when you make purchases. A $4.00 coffee beverage doesn't sound extravagant, but if you purchase one every day you can rack up a monthly $120 coffee bill. Embrace change and don't allow your emotions to focus on what you have to give up now, but what it is going to take so you accomplish your goals!
As you see there are no secrets or shortcuts. Things will not change for the better until you want them to change and until you DO SOMETHING about it. Set your goals high but keep them realistic and specific. Put your plans in writing and pick someone who can help keep you accountable. Don't allow your emotions to derail you when you get off track but accept change as your only solution to the answer for achieving positive results, and finally make 2013 the year that you finally keep your New Year's Resolution!
Steve Repak, CFP® is the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money. For more information, please visit www.DollarsAnUncommonSense.com.
"Eat Your Disease Away"
Family Physician and Author of "Eat Your Disease Away" Says Key Diet Changes Can Combat and Prevent Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Migraines and Other Autoimmune Based Disorders
ATLANTA, Ga. -- For many, making the commitment to transition to a healthier diet this year could be a life-saving decision, says Dr. Maiysha Clairborne , author of "Eat Your Disease Away."
"Many of the ailments that compromise our quality of life are caused by poor food choices," said Dr. Clairborne, founder of Atlanta-based Mind Body Spirit Wellness Inc. "Most people are unaware that foods that we commonly consume lead to chronic inflammation, which can then lead to other more serious conditions and complications such as heart attacks and strokes."
"This time of year, so many men and women are focused on the battle of the bulge," she continued. "While maintaining a healthy weight is essential, it's extremely important that as a society we learn the difference between being weight-conscious and being health-conscious because the latter is the key to living your best life."
About Dr. Maiysha Clairborne
Dr. Maiysha Clairborne is an American board certified family physician and wellness and stress management coach. The founder of Mind Body Spirit Wellness Inc., she has focused on helping clients achieve and maintaining physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being through her various programs for nearly a decade. Dr. Clairborne began her journey at Emory University completing her B.A. in Psychology then went on to complete her medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine. Finishing her Family Medicine Residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL., she ventured on to complete her post-graduate training in acupuncture with The Academy of Pain Research Acupuncture and the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Clairborne's services include acupuncture, wellness and stress management coaching, clinical nutrition management, and mind body techniques. An internationally traveled speaker and author, Dr. Clairborne offers a variety of Mind Body Wellness programs for people nationwide, and thrives on creating extraordinary breakthroughs for individuals and groups nationwide. Dr. Clairborne is the author of "Eat Your Disease Away" which focuses on positive change through balance and nutrition. She also serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Coalition for Domestic Violence. For more information, visit http://www.mbswellness.org.