A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Believe It or Not: Exercise Does More Good If You Believe It Will

(Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) Everyone knows exercise is supposed to be good for your health, but is the belief that exercise will have a positive effect more important for our well-being than the exercise itself? The psychologist Hendrik Mothes from the University of Freiburg's Department of Sport Science and his team have conducted a study demonstrating that test subjects derive more psychological as well as neurophysiological benefits from exercise if they already have positive mindsets about sports. Moreover, the team provided evidence that test subjects can be positively or negatively influenced in this regard before engaging in the exercise…
"The results demonstrate that our belief in how much we will benefit from physical activity has a considerable effect on our well-being in the manner of a self-fulfilling prophecy," sums up Mothes. The results provide evidence for a placebo effect during exercise: Test subjects who already believed the physical activity would have positive effects before participating in the study enjoyed the exercise more, improved their mood more, and reduced their anxiety more than less optimistic test subjects. In addition, the study revealed a neurophysiological difference between the test subjects: According to the measurements of brain activity, the participants with greater expectations before the beginning of the study and those who had seen a film about the health benefits of cycling beforehand were more relaxed on a neuronal level.
The results likely also apply to other endurance sports like jogging, swimming, or cross-country skiing, reports Mothes. 
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Higher Weekly Activity Levels Linked to Lower Risk of Five Chronic Diseases

(BMJ) Higher levels of total physical activity are strongly associated with lower risk of five common chronic diseases -- breast and bowel cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, finds a study…
They found that a higher level of total weekly physical activity was associated with a lower risk of all five conditions.
Most health gains occurred at a total activity level of 3000-4000 MET [metabolic equivalent] minutes a week, with diminishing returns at higher activity levels.
A person can achieve 3000 MET minutes a week by incorporating different types of physical activity into their daily routine -- for example, climbing stairs for 10 minutes, vacuuming for 15 minutes, gardening for 20 minutes, running for 20 minutes, and walking or cycling for 25 minutes.
The results suggest that total physical activity needs to be several times higher than the current recommended minimum level of 600 MET minutes a week to potentially achieve larger reductions in risks of these diseases, say the authors.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Virtual Reality and Treadmill Training Could Help Prevent Falls in Older Adults

(The Lancet) Combining virtual reality and treadmill training helps prevent falls in older adults better than treadmill training alone, according to a new randomised controlled trial… The authors say that the intervention, which combines the physical and cognitive aspects of walking, could potentially be used in gyms, rehabilitation centres or nursing homes to improve safe walking and prevent falls in older adults or people with disorders which affect movement such as Parkinson's disease.
Falls in adults aged 65 and over account for 1-2% of all healthcare expenditure in high-income countries. 30% of older adults living in the community, and as many as 60-80% of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or Parkinson's disease, fall at least once a year. Falls can cause injuries, loss of independence, disability, institutionalisation, and death. Even without injuries, falls often lead to fear of falling, avoiding leaving the house and depression, which in turn often leads to inactivity, muscle weakness, impaired balance and gait, more falls and more social isolation.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How Does Exercise Benefit Cognition?

(Scientific American) We all know that exercise improves our physical fitness, but staying in shape can also boost our brainpower. We are not entirely sure how, but evidence points to several explanations. First, to maintain normal cognitive function, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen and other chemicals, delivered via its abundant blood vessels. Physical exercise—and even just simple activities such as washing dishes or vacuuming—helps to circulate nutrient-rich blood efficiently throughout the body and keeps the blood vessels healthy.
Exercise increases the creation of mitochondria—the cellular structures that generate and maintain our energy—both in our muscles and in our brain, which may explain the mental edge we often experience after a workout. Studies also show that getting the heart rate up enhances neurogenesis—the ability to grow new brain cells—in adults.
Regardless of the mechanism, mounting evidence is revealing a robust relation between physical fitness and cognitive function.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Exercise May Ease Hot Flashes, Provided It's Vigorous

(Well, New York Times) Hot flashes are a lamentable part of reaching middle age for many women. While drug treatments may provide relief, two new studies suggest that the right type of exercise might lessen both the frequency and discomfiting severity of hot flashes by changing how the body regulates its internal temperature…
[The] findings strongly suggest that “improvements in fitness with a regular exercise program will have potential benefits on hot flushes,” said Helen Jones, a professor of exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University, who oversaw the new studies.
Precisely how exercise might change a women’s susceptibility to hot flashes is still not completely clear, although the researchers noted that the women who exercised developed better blood flow to the surface of their skin and to their brains during heat stress. That heightened blood flow most likely aided the operations of portions of the brain that regulate body temperature, Dr. Jones said.
The cautionary subtext of this study, though, is that to be effective against hot flashes, exercise probably needs to be sustained and somewhat strenuous, she said. “A leisurely walk for 30 minutes once a week is not going to have the required impact.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Resistance Exercise Lifts Fatigue in Fibromyalgia

(MedPage Today) "Person-centered" progressive resistance exercise boosted multiple aspects of fatigue in women with fibromyalgia, Swedish researcher reported…
Working fewer hours and getting better sleep also improved fatigue in the 15-week multicenter study, [the researchers] reported…
"Significant improvements were found for change in the MFI-20 subscales for general fatigue, physical fatigue, and mental fatigue in the resistance exercise group in comparison with the active control group," they noted.
The person-centered approach emphasizes active patient involvement in planning the treatment to enhance the patient's ability to manage health problems, the authors explained.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Exercise As Effective As Surgery For Meniscal Tears Of The Knee

(Health Newsline) Knee pain relief is the foremost concern when people injure their knee. Since knee is a very complex and a necessary part of the human body, many people choose to undergo a knee surgery in order to get relief from knee pain and improve mobility.
But a new study now suggests that surgery is not always required for knee injury and could be effectively treated by adopting a supervised exercise program.
The study by a team of researchers from Denmark and Norway discovers that exercise is as effective as surgery when it comes to pain, mobility and quality of life for middle-aged patients with meniscal tear, a common type of knee injury caused by forceful twisting of the upper leg or pivoting movements of the knee joint.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Dr. Zorba Paster: Friendly competition and feedback encourage exercise

(Madison.com) A new study published in the American Journal of Health showed how exercise is a team sport. I’m not talking about exercising as a team but teaming up with others to improve your efforts…
Researchers found the highest step totals were when the financial incentive was in play, with about 50 percent of the people hitting the 7,000-step mark. When the incentive was dropped, the scores dropped, too — only one in three were hitting the goal.
Still, 33 percent isn’t bad when you look at exercise compliance. It’s usually down in the single-digit range…
The take-home message I find fascinating about this latest study is that it uses smartphone technology combined with smart-device technology to give us instant feedback on how we’re doing.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Don't give exercise a vacation

(Kimberly Garrison, Philly.com) Never take a vacation from your workout, especially if you're a woman over 50. I know it's tempting. It's summer - there are barbecues and ice cream. There's that soothing glass of wine (maybe two) at an outdoor summer concert. Those lazy, hazy, don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed summer days.
Sure, go ahead and take off a week (two, if you must), but don't blow off working out entirely this summer…
Each missed week of exercise sets you farther behind, regardless of age. Taking off the whole summer would likely result in a 50 percent or more loss in whatever gains you made during the year. As a matter of fact, just six weeks off is likely to set you back an entire year.
I know, life is not fair.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Peru's new President is making his cabinet exercise in public every week

(VICE News) Peru's new president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has launched a national fitness campaign with an exercise session of his entire cabinet in the courtyard in front of the presidential palace in Lima.
The 77-year-old Kuczynski danced, bounced, and struggled to touch his toes to electronic music. He was obviously more at home when talking to reporters later, even reaching for his classical education.
"Mens sana in corpore sano, as the Latin proverb says" Kuczynski said, without providing a translation, perhaps cementing his elitist image even as he proved he is not afraid of not looking cool. "We truly want to promote health."
The president, known widely as PPK, said the routine would be repeated before every Wednesday meeting of his largely male and somewhat chubby cabinet, which is dominated by Ivy League graduates like him.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Healthy adults who regularly exercise may be misdiagnosed with heart disease, study shows

(News-Medical.net) Scientists have shown that people who exercise for even a few hours each week can enlarge their hearts. This is a normal and beneficial response to exercise, but until now has only been recognised in athletes. The researchers say that doctors should now consider an individual's activity level before diagnosing common heart conditions.
"It's well known that the hearts of endurance athletes adapt in response to exercise, a phenomenon called 'athlete's heart'. This study is the first to show that healthy adults who do regular exercise may also develop enlarged hearts. As a result, there's a risk that some active adults could be misdiagnosed with heart disease," says Declan O'Regan, of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, based at Imperial College London, and one of the lead scientists on the research.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Phone Checklist Can Help Detect Changes in Clinical Status Among Home Care Recipients

(Harvard Medical School) A simple phone checklist can help detect telltale changes in the health status of people receiving nonmedical home care, according to the findings of a pilot study led by investigators at Harvard Medical School.
Results of the research … are based on a program that requires home-care aides to record changes in status during a telephone clockout at the end of each shift.
The results, researchers said, underscore the potential of real-time monitoring systems to spot problems and avert complications before they escalate enough to require hospitalization.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Cupping: it's as silly as homeopathy

(Donald Clarke, Irish Times) re’s what you need to know about cupping therapy: the International Olympic Committee allows it. That organisation prohibits steroids, meldonium and crack cocaine. It permits snake handling, prayer circles and aura reading.
I don’t suppose anybody has bothered to ask if the IOC has a problem with athletes smacking themselves in the face with knobbly sticks. Why would they? Such lunacy would generate bruises without leading to any concomitant improvement in performance. You know? Like cupping therapy. The practice is not physiotherapy; it is defined as an alternative medicine. So why hasn’t the IOC banned it? Because it doesn’t do anything. Were you not listening?
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

High and Low Levels of ‘good Cholesterol’ May Cause Premature Death

(Washington University in St. Louis) Commonly touted as "good cholesterol" for helping to reduce risk of stroke and heart attack, both high and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol may increase a person's risk of premature death, according to new research…
Conversely, intermediate HDL cholesterol levels may increase longevity, according to the research…
"The findings surprised us," said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University and the study's senior author. "Previously it was thought that raised levels of the good cholesterol were beneficial. The relationship between increased levels of HDL cholesterol and early death is unexpected and not fully clear yet. This will require further study."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Working, Volunteering Could Reduce Disablement in Seniors, Study Finds

(Georgia State University) Working or volunteering can reduce the chances of chronic health conditions leading to physical disability in older Americans, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Florida State University.
The study found people ages 50 to 64 who worked full-time or part-time or volunteered up to 100 hours per year experienced a reduction in the extent to which chronic conditions were associated with subsequent functional limitations, such as the ability to walk a block or climb a flight of stairs…
"If we can find interventions that slow down early-stage disability, we might be able to help people live healthier and ultimately longer because decreased physical functioning is associated with excess risk of mortality," [lead author Ben Lennox] Kail said. "What we're arguing is that it's important to have programs that incentivize people who are healthy enough to continue working and volunteering to do so because it can intervene in health processes."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Reading books could increase lifespan

(Highly Cited-Medical News Today) [R]eading books is not just a popular pastime; numerous studies have hailed its benefits for health. A recent study… for example, found that reading fictional books may encourage empathy.
Now, [Becca R. Levy at Yale University School of Public Health] and colleagues claim the health benefits of reading books may reach even further, after finding it could help us live longer…
Compared with adults who did not read books, those who read books for up to 3 ½ hours each week were 17 percent less likely to die over the 12-year follow-up, while those who read for more than 3 ½ hours weekly were 23 percent less likely to die.
Overall, adults who read books survived almost 2 years longer over the 12-year follow-up than non-book readers.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Successful Aging: Why exercising has been proven to pay off in the long run

(LA Daily News) We all know stories about individuals who smoked, drank a lot, never exercised and lived into their 90s. In general, these folks are the exceptions based on many studies of long-lived people.
Here are just three reasons to support the notion that exercise can make a difference.
Keep the Telomeres Long
Telomeres are caps at the end of chromosomes that protect our genetic data; they are similar to the plastic tip at the end of a shoelace preventing the shoelace from unraveling… With age, they shorten and fray; recent science suggests that exercise may slow that fraying process.
Use It or Lose It
Physical inactivity causes the loss of muscle tissue at the rate of 3 to 5 percent each decade after the age of 30… The good news is that we can build lean muscle tissue at any age. And getting stronger requires strength-building exercise.
Reduce Risk of Developing Diseases and Disability
The National Institute on Aging suggests that with age, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing some diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer and diabetes, as well as reducing risks of disability. Exercise also can be an effective treatment for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis or having problems with balance.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Can a B Vitamin Reverse Deterioration in Aging Muscles?

(Newsmax) Increasing levels of a compound called NAD may be the key to reversing the natural decay in muscles associated with aging, says a study from the University of Pennsylvania. Some athletes are already taking supplements to increase synthesis of this compound with hopes of reversing the decay linked with aging of cells' powerhouses called the mitochondria.
Joseph Baur, Ph.D. and colleagues examined the role of NAD precursor molecules on mitochondria by disrupting the "NAD salvage pathway" in the skeletal muscle of mice…
[T]he team tested a dietary NAD precursor to see if it might affect the muscles. The muscle decline was completely reversed by feeding the mice a form of vitamin B3, called nicotinamide riboside.
"It appears that a relatively small enhancement in muscle NAD can have profound functional consequences in this setting," said lead author David W. Frederick, Ph.D.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Could an infusion of young blood fight aging?

(AOL News) Can aging be reversed through a transfusion of young blood?
This is what a California-based startup company called Ambrosia hopes to find out in its new clinical trial, notes Quartz.
According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the approximately two-year-long study is projected to involve around 600 participants aged 35 and older who "will receive an infusion of plasma derived from a young donor 16-25 years of age."
It goes on to state that "a panel of age-associated biomarkers will be measured before and after treatment."
These include 100 measures related to aging such as disease advancement and organ function.
The transfusion idea got a boost from a 2014 Stanford University experiment in which older mice were shown to function better after receiving blood from younger members.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Four Freedoms That Will Define the Future of Aging

(Next Avenue) [T]here are Four Freedoms of Aging that will define the future of aging, inspire us to challenge old beliefs and stereotypes and spark new solutions for living and aging in America.
No. 1: Freedom to Choose
If you want to follow a traditional path to retirement, you should be able to do that. If you want an active, engaged life, you should have options to pursue that as well…
No. 2: Freedom to Earn
Many of us want or need to continue earning a living and are searching for ways to make a difference in society through the work we do. This requires reimagining work and breaking down social and institutional barriers that stand in the way.
No. 3: Freedom to Learn
If we want to stay engaged, involved and productive during our extended middle age and beyond, we need to keep learning.
No. 4: Freedom to Pursue Happiness
No longer burdened by many of the day-to-day stresses that consumed our lives as we were advancing our careers and raising our kids, many of us are using our extended middle age to turn inward and focus on finding and fulfilling our purpose in life. We have the power to reimagine our lives and change course if we choose.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Future of Aging

(U.S. News & World Report) Imagine a day in the not-too-distant future. You’re in your late 40s, and it’s time for a special doctor’s visit. The physician reviews your lifestyle, sleep habits and health history and orders some blood work to compare certain biomarkers with baseline measures taken when you were in your 20s. Then she gives you a personalized prescription for change that includes a diet that mimics the effects of fasting and a drug that helps your cells clear out malfunctioning proteins. The goal? To make you age more slowly and lengthen your “healthspan.”
If it sounds like science fiction, you’re right – for now. But researchers in the field of geroscience, which explores the relationship between aging and diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, see that day coming. They are marshalling evidence that the same cellular processes that drive aging also result in those diseases, and that it’s possible to slow the damage down. “The idea is that if you can treat the underlying causes of aging, you can delay all of these things as a group,” says Dr. Steven Austad, scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research and a professor at the University of Alabama–Birmingham. “That’s a whole different way of thinking about medicine.”
The goal is not to extend lifespan, though that may indeed happen. Instead it’s to extend the length of time you’re healthy and active. “We want people to be in their 80s and feel like they’re in their 50s and 60s,” says Brian Kennedy, president and CEO at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California. That’s not far-fetched, according to The New England Centenarian Study at Boston Medical Center.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Force of bite may predict a person's longevity

(Wall Street Journal) The force of a man’s bite at age 70 may be a marker of his longevity, says a study in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.
The risk of dying before reaching their mid-80s was 84% higher in men with a weaker bite than those with a stronger bite, the study found. The association was significant even when such factors as tooth loss and severe gum disease were included in the analysis.
No connection was found between jaw strength and long-term survival in women of the same age group.
Low bite force may be a sign of musculoskeletal decline that can ultimately lead to disability and death, the study suggests.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Brain-Machine: Major Gains for Paraplegics

(Duke University Medical Center) Eight people who have spent years paralyzed from spinal cord injuries have regained partial sensation and muscle control in their lower limbs after training with brain-controlled robotics, according to a study…
The patients used brain-machine interfaces, including a virtual reality system that used their own brain activity to simulate full control of their legs. The research -- led by Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., as part of the Walk Again Project in São Paulo, Brazil -- offers promise for people with spinal cord injury, stroke and other conditions to regain strength, mobility and independence…
Several patients saw changes after seven months of training. After a year, four patients' sensation and muscle control changed significantly enough that doctors upgraded their diagnoses from complete to partial paralysis.
Most patients saw improvements in their bladder control and bowel function, reducing their reliance on laxatives and catheters, he said. These changes reduce patients' risk of infections, which are common in patients with chronic paralysis and are a leading cause of death, Nicolelis said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

With Congress Deadlocked, White House Diverts Funds to Fight Zika

(New York Times) The Obama administration on Thursday said it was shifting $81 million away from biomedical research and antipoverty and health care programs to pay for the development of a Zika vaccine, resorting to extraordinary measures because Congress has failed to approve new funding to combat the virus.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, told members of Congress in a letter that without the diverted funds, the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would run out of money to confront the mosquito-borne illness by the end of the month. That would force the development of a vaccine to stop at a critical time, as locally acquired cases of Zika infection increase in Miami.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Italy proposal to jail vegans who impose diet on children

(BBC News) Parents who restrict their children to a vegan diet could face a jail term if a controversial bill is passed by the Italian parliament.
Such parents, the draft bill claims, are imposing a diet "devoid of essential elements for [children's] healthy and balanced growth".
It has been proposed by Elvira Savino of the centre-right Forza Italia party.
It follows a number of high-profile Italian cases where malnourished children have been taken into care.
In four cases over the last 18 months, malnourished children were hospitalised in Italy after being fed a vegan diet.
However, dieticians such as the American Dietetic Association say vegan diets are suitable for children but advise that care needs to be taken to ensure children are receiving the full range of required nutrients - in particular vitamin B12.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Tighter Air Pollution Standards May Save Thousands of Lives, Greatly Improve Public Health

(American Thoracic Society) [A new analysis] found that meeting a 0.060 parts per million (ppm) 8-hour standard for O3 rather than the EPA's 0.070 ppm standard, and an 11 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) annual standard for PM2.5, rather than the EPA's 12 μg/m3 standard, would each year:
·         Save 9,320 lives;
·         Reduce serious health events (morbidities), such as heart attacks, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, by 21,400; and
·         Decrease "adverse impact days," during which people may not be able to work, go to school or otherwise be physically active because of severe breathing problems, by 19,300,000 days.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Long-Term Health Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs Not as Dire as Perceived

(Genetics Society of America) The detonation of atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in horrific casualties and devastation. The long-term effects of radiation exposure also increased cancer rates in the survivors. But public perception of the rates of cancer and birth defects among survivors and their children is in fact greatly exaggerated when compared to the reality revealed by comprehensive follow-up studies. The reasons for this mismatch and its implications are discussed in a Perspectives review of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivor studies…
Cancer rates among survivors was higher compared to rates in those who had been out of town at the time. The relative risk increased according to how close the person was to the detonation site, their age (younger people faced a greater lifetime risk), and their sex (greater risk for women than men). However, most survivors did not develop cancer.
Incidence of solid cancers between 1958 and 1998 among the survivors were 10% higher, which corresponds to approximately 848 additional cases among 44,635 survivors in this part of the study. However, most of the survivors received a relatively modest dose of radiation. In contrast, those exposed to a higher radiation dose of 1 Gray (approximately 1000 times higher than current safety limits for the general public) bore a 44% greater risk of cancer over the same time span (1958-1998). Taking into consideration all causes of death, this relatively high dose reduced average lifespan by approximately 1.3 years.
[N]o differences in health or mutations rates have yet been detected among children of survivors.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

People Hospitalized For Infection At Increased Risk Of Dying From Suicide

(Tech Times) Individuals who are hospitalized with infection may have increased risk for suicide death, findings of a new study … suggest. Researchers also found that the highest risk of suicide was in those with HIV or AIDS and hepatitis.
Helene Lund-Sørensen, from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues looked at the link between infectious diseases and the risk of suicide death using the data of more than 7.2 million individuals aged 15 years or older.
Of the subjects, 11.2 percent were hospitalized with infection, such as HIV, hepatitis or infection of the digestive system, skin, blood or lungs. Over the course of the study, nearly 32,700 of these people died of suicide and nearly a quarter of these had been hospitalized for infection.
The results suggest that those who were hospitalized with infection have 42 percent increased risk for suicide death than those without infection. The researchers also found that the risk of suicide is higher in those with more infections and who went through longer treatment.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Secret to happy marriage is a good night's sleep

(IANS) If you wish to give your marriage a smooth ride, make sure both of you get sound sleep every night. A new study has found that a good night's sleep can buffer the effects of negative events on a couple's general satisfaction with their marriages.
When husbands and wives get more sleep than on an average night, they are more satisfied with their marriages, at least the following day, the findings showed.
"The universality of our findings is important," said one of the researchers, Heather Maranges from Florida State University in the US.
"That is, we know all people need sleep. Regardless of the stage at which a couple is in their relationship or the cultural context in which they're embedded, each member of the couple can be adversely affected by not getting enough sleep," Maranges said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Too hot to sleep? Freeze your sheets, ditch the booze and DON'T go commando!

(The Mirror) The Sleep School's expert Dr Guy Meadows has nine top tips to keep you cool and get you to sleep, rather than be hot and bothered, counting sheep…
1. Keep a cool head
Getting frustrated and restless because you're hot only generates more heat and keeps you up longer. Keep a cool head by lying still - only by accepting the heat can you move your mind and body closer to sleep.
2. Frozen bedding…
Pop your sheets and pillows into bags and put them in a freezer ready for bedtime.
3. Choose cotton - and pyjamas!...
Cotton bed linens are lightweight and breathable, promoting airflow in your bedroom.
And keep those pyjamas on! The temptation may be to go commando, but as cotton lets your skin breathe it also allows for air circulation.
4. Make your own breeze
Humans sleep best in a cool bedroom, with the ideal temperature being 17ºC [62ºF]. Open a window or invest in an electric fan to add an extra breeze.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How to Sleep Better: 5 Design Choices for the Best Night's Sleep

(Architectural Digest) Here are six ways to upgrade your bedroom for the best night’s sleep—and make the space look better in the process.
Splurge on blackout curtains…
Kick electronics out of the room…
Buy a pretty fan…
Swap out your lightbulbs…
Make your bed more luxurious…
Create a spalike space…
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

4 Ways You (Yes, You!) Can Sleep Like A Baby

(Huffington Post) There’s something totally peaceful about a sleeping baby ― even if you didn’t soothe the little one to sleep yourself…
[There are] four things you can do today and tonight to sleep like the littlest humans…
1. Get some exercise. Exercise raises then lowers body temperature, which helps you fall asleep
2. Skip the booze. Alcohol interferes with the sleep process by reducing rapid eye movement (rem) sleep.
3. Avoid screens in bed. The blue light from electronic screens impacts melatonin levels and keeps you up.
4. Reduce your sleep stress. It’s normal to wake up during the night, as long as you can fall back asleep.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Better sleep without drugs

(KOMO News) Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to improve the amount of sleep you get and the quality of your sleep and to help limit the number of times you wake up at night.
Here’s how treatment usually works: You’ll be asked to keep a sleep diary along with rating your sleep and how you feel the next day. A therapist will review that information and suggest strategies to improve the amount and quality of sleep you’re getting. He or she will also help you change your daily routine to set your body’s wake-sleep cycle.
And because sleeping better makes you feel better during the day, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that cognitive behavioral therapy can significantly improve your overall well-being and quality of life.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

No more excuses — this mattress plans your next workout while you sleep

(Digital Trends) When you think NordicTrack, sleep is likely the last thing on your mind. But as any high-powered athlete might tell you, sleep is of the essence when it comes to maintaining top-notch performance. So it should come as little surprise that NordicTrack, a company best known for its line of workout equipment — treadmills, ellipticals, and the like — is now venturing into dreamland with its new collaboration with iFit.
In August, NordicTrack will unveil the latest in its sleep technology, which will help users determine how their downtime influences their active time. The company told Digital Trends it will give individuals a closer look at how sleep influences not only their daily activity, but their exercise patterns as well…
The technology, all contained in a small, disc-shaped gadget, slides under a mattress and can wirelessly detect heart rate, respiratory rate, and sleep patterns. As soon as you crawl into bed, your mattress will start keeping tabs; once you wake up, you’ll be presented with a sense of just how well you’ve slept.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Sense sleep tracking ball is nothing but a lovely alarm clock

(Vlad Savov,  The Verge) I shall sleep for science!
Such was my proclamation and enthusiasm when I was pitched the idea of reviewing a sleep-monitoring gadget. Of all the activity trackers out there, surely the best kind is the one that doesn’t require any activity of you at all. And among them, the $129 Sense sleep tracker is rather unique in not requiring the user to wear anything extra while in bed. This system works with just a cute little sphere, barely larger than a tennis ball, positioned next to my bed and a tiny "pill" sensor attached to my pillowcase.
What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Big Health raises $12 million for sleep-focused employee wellness app, Sleepio

(MobiHealthNews) Big Health, the UK digital health startup behind sleep health app Sleepio, has raised $12 million (9.5 million pounds) in a round led by Octopus Ventures… The startup's app is not direct-to-consumer, Big Health sells its sleep health program and app to employers.
"Over 750,000 employees now have access to our Sleepio program after our first full year in the US market," Big Health CEO and cofounder Peter Hames said in a statement. "This new investment allows us to push on towards our goal of helping millions back to good mental health, by growing the number of companies we work with and evolving our products to help address an ever-wider range of mental health issues. But we’ll only achieve this goal – and firmly establish a new 'digital medicine' industry – by remaining committed to evidence-based solutions that deliver real outcomes for users.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Economic Burden of Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea in US Is Nearly $150 Billion Per Year

(American Academy of Sleep Medicine) The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) released a new analysis, titled "Hidden health crisis costing America billions," that reveals the staggering cost of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. A companion report was also released… Both reports were commissioned by the AASM and prepared by the global research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
OSA is a chronic disease that is rising in prevalence in the U.S. Frost & Sullivan estimates that OSA afflicts 29.4 million American men and women, which represents 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. They also calculated that diagnosing and treating every patient in the U.S. who has sleep apnea would produce an annual economic savings of $100.1 billion.
Treating sleep apnea improves productivity and safety while reducing health care utilization, notes AASM Immediate Past President Dr. Nathaniel Watson.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Sleep apnea patients at glaucoma risk

(Times of India) People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) are prone to suffer from glaucoma at a rate about 10 times higher than non-OSAS sufferers, according to a study.
While unraveling the details of glaucoma sufferers with normal eye pressure levels, the study found that optic nerve could be damaged due to hypoxia without a spike in eye pressure.
Glaucoma is thought to be a disease in which the optic nerve sustains damage due to increased eye pressure, resulting in a restricted visual field.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New review finds link between sleep disorders and stroke risk

(News-Medical.net) There is growing evidence that sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea are related to stroke risk and recovery from stroke, according to a recent literature review. The review is published in the August 3, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Based on the review, the authors recommend that people who have had a stroke or a mini-stroke, called a transient ischemic attack, be screened for sleep disorders. "Although sleep disorders are common after a stroke, very few stroke patients are tested for them," said study author Dirk M. Hermann, MD, of University Hospital Essen in Essen, Germany. "The results of our review show that should change, as people with sleep disorders may be more likely to have another stroke or other negative outcomes than people without sleep problems, such as having to go to a nursing home after leaving the hospital."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

We Finally Know How Birds Sleep During Flight Without Dying

(Gizmodo) Owing to some horrendously long flight times, scientists have speculated that certain birds are capable of sleep during flight. A remarkable new experiment by an international team of researchers has now proven this to be true, showing that birds can catch a snooze while hitching a ride on rising air currents.
In a new paper…, Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute and colleagues from several other institutions have offered the first proof showing that flying birds can sleep with either one half of their brains active, or with both hemispheres shut down at the same time. Remarkably, these birds can retain their navigational ability while in REM sleep, which involves temporary loss of muscle tone.
Community: Ducks do something similar when they sleep. They sleep in a gaggle, floating on the water, and they take turns rotating to the outer perimeter. The ones on the perimeter sleep with one eye open to watch for danger.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Sandman's' Role in Sleep Control Discovered

(University of Oxford) Oxford University researchers have discovered what causes a switch to flip in our brains and wake us up. The discovery … brings us closer to understanding the mystery of sleep…
The sleep switch is a 'hard' switch, meaning that it is either on or off. 'That makes sense,' said [Professor Gero Miesenböck]. 'You want to be either asleep or awake but not drift through twilight states.'
Dr Diogo Pimentel, one of the two lead authors of the study, said: 'Being able to operate the sleep switch at will has given us a chance to find out how it works.'
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Why You're Stiff in the Morning: Your Body Suppresses Inflammation When You Sleep at Night

(Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) New research … describes a protein created by the body's "biological clock" that actively represses inflammatory pathways within the affected limbs during the night. This protein, called CRYPTOCHROME, has proven anti-inflammatory effects in cultured cells and presents new opportunities for the development of drugs that may be used to treat inflammatory diseases and conditions, such as arthritis.
"By understanding how the biological clock regulates inflammation, we can begin to develop new treatments, which might exploit this knowledge," said Julie Gibbs, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work and arthritis research UK career development fellow at the Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Institute of Human Development at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. "Furthermore, by adapting the time of day at which current drug therapies are administered, we may be able to make them more effective."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Smartphone Exercises for a Better Mood

(University of Basel) Brief, directed smartphone exercises can help quickly improve our mood. This is the latest finding from psychologists at the University of Basel and their international colleagues…
Participants in the international study felt more alert, calmer and uplifted after -- using five-minute video tutorials on their smartphones as a guide -- they had, for example, practiced concentrating on their bodies.
The subjects could choose between various established or more modern psychotherapeutic exercise modules known as micro-interventions. Some of the participants, for example, recalled emotional experiences during the exercise, while other test subjects repeated short sentences or number sequences in a contemplative manner, or played with their facial gestures. The subjects recorded their mood on their smartphones, answering short questions by marking a six-step scale both before and after the exercise. Those who succeeded in immediately improving their mood through the brief exercises benefited over the longer term as well: Their mood improved overall during the two-week study phase.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Simple Changes to Your Diet Can Help With Mental-Health Issues

(The Root) The link between the mind, the gut and your immune system has been long established. This is due to the presence of serotonin—the chemical found in the brain, decreased levels of which can lead to depression—in the gut helping to move your digested food through the alimentary canal.
Although eating foods with fewer inflammatory properties, unlike those found in the standard American diet, may not cure mental disorders, eating a diet rich in lean meats, fish, and fruits and vegetables may be protective against the worsening of certain disorders. The Mediterranean diet—one full of beans, fish, poultry, olive oil and whole grains and low in fried foods, processed meats, sweets and saturated fats—may not only help stave off Alzheimer’s dementia but also may help to improve your mood and help with depression.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Selfless People Have More Sex, Study Finds

(University of Guelph) If you want to get a little, you should try giving a little. New research from the University of Guelph and Nipissing University shows that people who help others are more desirable to the opposite sex, have more sexual partners and more frequent sex…
"This study is the first to show that altruism may translate into real mating success in Western populations, that altruists have more mates than non-altruists," said Pat Barclay, a U of G psychology professor who worked on the study with lead author Prof. Steven Arnocky from Nipissing.
Arnocky added: "It appears that altruism evolved in our species, in part, because it serves as a signal of other underlying desirable qualities, which helps individuals reproduce."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Curiosity Has the Power to Change Behavior for the Better

(American Psychological Association) Curiosity could be an effective tool to entice people into making smarter and sometimes healthier decisions, according to research…
"Our research shows that piquing people's curiosity can influence their choices by steering them away from tempting desires, like unhealthy foods or taking the elevator, and toward less tempting, but healthier options, such as buying more fresh produce or taking the stairs," said Evan Polman, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an author of the study.
Polman and his colleagues conducted a series of four experiments designed to test how raising people's curiosity might affect their choices. In each case, arousing curiosity resulted in a noticeable behavior change.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Can Nature Videos Help Improve Prisoner Behavior?

(American Psychological Association) Researchers have identified a simple intervention that may help reduce levels of violence in maximum security prisons. Inmates who viewed nature videos showed reduced levels of aggression and were less likely to be disciplined than those in similar cellblocks, according to research…
"We need nature for our physical and psychological well-being," said clinical psychotherapist Patricia H. Hasbach, PhD, who presented the research. "Although direct contact with real nature is most effective, studies have shown that even indirect nature exposure can provide temporary relief from psychological stress in daily life."…
"Inmate surveys and case study interviews with inmates suggested that negative emotions and behaviors such as aggression, distress, irritability and nervousness were reduced following the viewing of videos and lasted for several hours post-viewing," said Hasbach.
Prison staff also reported through case study interviews and written surveys that viewing the videos appeared to be a positive way to reduce violent behavior.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Pain of Rejection Makes Us More Likely to Commit Fraud

(Frontiers in Psychology) People commit fraud because they are unhappy about being rejected, a new study … has found.
Many of us might not professional criminals, however when an insurance company rejects our claims, we are more likely to inflate the claims.
Insurance companies take note: we are more likely to submit false insurance claims if our original submissions are rejected. Regardless of whether that rejection is fair or unfair, or if there is a financial reward at stake, being rejected makes us feel unhappy and we react by behaving dishonestly.
In this study, which used a mock insurance claim scenario, people whose claims were initially rejected were quick to fudge their stories to get their claims settled.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Repeated Experiences of Racism Most Damaging to Mental Health

(Manchester University) New research by University of Manchester academics has revealed for the first time how harmful repeated racial discrimination can be on mental and physical health.
Several studies have already linked racial discrimination to poor mental and physical health but no study has ever studied the impact numerous attacks over time have on a person's mental health…
In this research increased mental health problems were shown to be significantly higher among racial minorities who'd experienced repeated incidents of racial discrimination, when compared to ethnic minorities who did not report any experience of racism.
The study also found it was the fear of avoiding spaces and feeling unsafe due to racial discrimination that had the biggest cumulative effect on the mental health of ethnic minorities.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Should Crime Victims Call the Police?

(University of Iowa) As law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and public health officials work to develop effective crime-prevention strategies, new research from the University of Iowa finds that individuals who report being victims of crime to police are less likely to become future victims of crime than those who do not report their initial experiences.
The UI study examined a nationwide cohort of more than 18,000 people who were victims of crimes such as interpersonal violence -- including sexual assault, robbery, threatened rape and threatened assault -- and property crimes like theft and burglary. Data were drawn from the National Crime Victimization Survey, a database of non-fatal crime reports, and covered a period from 2008 to 2012.
Overall, the study found that those who filed police reports about their initial experience were 22 percent less likely to experience repeat victimization.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Scientists Grow Mini Human Brains

(The Agency for Science, Technology and Research) Scientists in Singapore have made a big leap on research on the 'mini-brain'. These advanced mini versions of the human midbrain will help researchers develop treatments and conduct other studies into Parkinson's Disease (PD) and aging-related brain diseases.
These mini midbrain versions are three-dimensional miniature tissues that are grown in the laboratory and they have certain properties of specific parts of the human brains. This is the first time that the black pigment neuromelanin has been detected in an organoid model. The study also revealed functionally active dopaminergic neurons.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The latest on the Zika virus

(AP) Florida officials have gone into damage-control mode, with Gov. Rick Scott insisting, “We have a safe state!” during a tour of the Zika hot zone in Miami’s Wynwood district.
Tourism is Florida’s biggest industry. Visitors spent some $89 billion here last year. And Disney is America’s No. 1 tourist attraction.
(New York Daily News) Get your behinds back to Washington.
That was Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) message for his fellow senators and congress members Sunday as he demanded the passage of a $1.9 billion emergency funding bill needed to fight the growing spread of the Zika virus.
(West Hartford News) U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal visited Martin Park in East Hartford Monday to call upon Congress to convene a special emergency session to approve $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus.
Congress recessed for a seven weeks without appropriating emergency funds to fight Zika. But minority Democrats have no authority to make that happen. It’s up to the Republican majority.
(Reuters) U.S. health regulators have cleared the way for a trial of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida that can reduce mosquito populations, potentially offering a new tool to fight the local spread of Zika and other viruses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that a field trial testing Intrexon Corp's genetically engineered mosquitoes would not have a significant impact on the environment.
(The U.S. Military HIV Research Program) A ZIKV purified inactivated virus Zika vaccine candidate provided robust protection against the virus in rhesus monkeys in a new preclinical study. Findings support advancing the candidate to human trials.
(USA TODAY) Zika typically causes few to no serious symptoms in adults, but the virus can brutally attack the brains of developing fetuses, causing devastating birth defects. The best-known problem caused by Zika is microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and, in most cases, incomplete brain development…
That brain damage, however, can't be diagnosed until halfway through pregnancy or later, limiting options for pregnant women who might consider abortion.
(STAT) Americans’ strong aversion to late-term abortions drops precipitously if a developing fetus would likely be born with severe damage from the Zika virus, a new STAT-Harvard poll found.
It showed that 59 percent of respondents thought women should have the right to end a pregnancy after 24 weeks of gestation if testing showed there was a serious possibility the fetus had microcephaly caused by the mother’s Zika infection.
(Politico) Sen. Marco Rubio said Saturday that he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion — even if she had reason to believe the child would be born with severe microcephaly.
(Christine Curry, The Conversation) I teach and practice obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital, and I treat pregnant women who have been infected with Zika: so far over a dozen women. We began preparing to care for infected women in January. Now, it is part of the daily care we provide. And with first known cases of local mosquito-borne transmission in the continental US reported in Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami, the risk has become even more real.
How am I, and other doctors who care for pregnant women, dealing with this new disease?
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]