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

When the Heart Pays the Price of Anger

(Happy Days blog, New York Times) Venting rage may feel good, but it can have personal, and cardiovascular, consequences.

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Community: Finding ways to cope with anger and rage is one of the most important things we can do for our health. What are some of the ways you deal with anger?

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Excess Pounds, but Not Too Many, May Lead to Longer Life

(New York Times) Being overweight won’t kill you — it may even help you live longer. That’s the latest from a study that analyzed data on 11,326 Canadian adults, ages 25 and older, who were followed over a 12-year period.

The report … found that overall, people who were overweight but not obese — defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9 — were actually less likely to die than people of normal weight, defined as a B.M.I. of 18.5 to 24.9…

The finding adds to a simmering scientific controversy over the optimal weight for adults.

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Community: As we saw yesterday, there’s some evidence that eating a low calorie diet may prolong life. Doesn’t it seem that the findings of this study should be contradictory to that?

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Seasonal Produce: Raspberries

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Like blueberries, raspberries are a small fruit with big benefits! These tiny nutritional powerhouses are rich in fiber and a variety of antioxidants.

Get tips on buying, storing, and preparing raspberries.

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Community: Buying fruit in season, especially when it’s on sale, is best for the pocketbook. Having a big freezer helps with stocking up when the price is low.

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Consumers don't buy water for health reasons

(Reuters Health) In the current study, participants typically viewed bottled water as more "pure" than tap, but mostly could not name specific health advantages. When they did, they most often cited bottled water's higher mineral content versus tap water -- which, [the research] team notes, is true of some brands of mineral water, but not all.

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Community: Could it be status seeking, rather than health benefits, that drives bottled water purchases?

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Late-life weight gain boosts disability risk

(Reuters Health) Gaining weight after age 50 increases a person's risk of becoming disabled, especially if he or she is already obese, new research from Italy shows.

The findings "emphasize the importance of preventing and treating obesity in older adults for the preservation of functional ability and independence," [researchers] conclude…

While there is strong evidence that being obese in old age is associated with a greater likelihood of being disabled and speedier age-related decline, less is known about how weight gain or loss in older people affects their ability to function, [researchers] say.

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Hormone Could Improve Diabetes Treatment

(HealthDay News) A hormone might be an effective biomarker to help improve treatment of type 2 diabetes, U.S. researchers report.

Adiponectin is a metabolic hormone that regulates a number of processes, including glucose regulation and metabolism of fat for energy production. Previous research has shown an association between adiponectin and insulin sensitivity.

This new study found that levels of the hormone in patients with type 2 diabetes helped predict how patients responded to certain diabetes drugs.

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Alcohol-Related Ills Increasing Worldwide

(HealthDay News) Consumption of alcohol is up, and so it seems are the ills associated with it. Worldwide, one in 25 deaths and 5 percent of the years that people live with health-related disabilities are related to alcohol, according to a new study.

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FDA Seizes All Drugs From Generics Maker

(HealthDay News) The seizure of all drugs and drug ingredients at a Michigan-based manufacturer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could lead to a shortage of a particular type of pain reliever, the agency said on Thursday.

The FDA ordered U.S. Marshals to seize the products from plants run by Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd in Detroit, Farmington Hills, and Wixom, Mich. Caraco manufactures generic drugs, including cardiac, psychiatric and pain medications, the FDA said.

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Stay Upbeat, Active to Keep the Mind Young

(HealthDay News) To stave off the mental decline associated with old age, engage in intellectually challenging activities, maintain a positive outlook and keep up your social life.

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Positive Emotional Psychology: Have a 'Daily Diet' of Positive Emotions

(U.S. News & World Report) Joy. Interest. Love. Serenity. Awe. Amusement. Pride. Such positive emotions, fleeting feelings that last just seconds or minutes, are the subject of Barbara Fredrickson's research. Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, examines how they can alter our thoughts and actions for the better. She finds, for example that when we're under the influence of positive emotions, our awareness expands. "We literally see more," she says. "Our peripheral vision is expanded." (Negative emotions, on the other hand, narrow our thinking.) She also finds that people who increase their "daily diet" of positive emotions develop closer connections with others, their resilience and optimism strengthens, and they become less depressed and more satisfied with life, compared with people who do nothing to experience them more frequently.

This isn't to suggest it's necessary to strive for constant euphoria—even mild positive emotions can impact a person's growth and outlook over time, she says. Nor must negative emotions be banished.

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Little Ways to Lift Your Mood

(Prevention Magazine) Experts say you won’t find true joy in a paycheck or miracle wrinkle-remover. According to happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, of the University of California, Riverside, life circumstances account for only 10% of happiness. Half depends on our genetic “set point,” which is kind of like the weight our body bounces back to after that crash diet. And about 40% of our happiness is influenced by what we do deliberately to make ourselves happy. Next time you need to turn around a hellish day at work or brighten up a draggy afternoon, try one of these proven tips to lift your mood and make you smile.

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Community: Doing things that make me feel good doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to consciously work at remembering to do them. What are the things you do to stimulate your feel-good brain chemicals?

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De-stress your diet

(AP) The economy doesn’t have to go straight to your hips. Here are some tips on how to control stress-driven eating:

• Recognize that being stressed is normal, said Edward Abramson, a psychologist in Lafayette, Calif., and author of “Emotional Eating.” Talk about the stress with family and friends.

• Know that the economy is out of your hands, said Martin Binks, director of behavioral health and research at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. Focus on what you can control.

• Find healthier ways to soothe yourself. Some people go for a walk. Others work on a hobby. Listen to your favorite music or read something not work related, said Linda Hlivka, co-author of “Stress Eater Diet.”

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Treating Cellulite? It’s Still Theren

(New York Times) The search for a solution for cellulite has women shelling out millions, but rumors of a cure are greatly exaggerated.

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5 All-Star Health Supplements

(Prevention Magazine) These natural remedies have ironclad scientific proof on their side. Here are 2 everyone should consider, plus 3 others that benefit your bones, heart, stomach, and more.

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Community: I started taking supplements when my doctors started recommending them—first calcium, then glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. I’ve since added others. Do you take supplements?

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Why A Low Calorie Diet Extends Lifespans: Critical Enzyme Pair Identified

(Science Daily) Experiment after experiment confirms that a diet on the brink of starvation expands lifespan in mice and many other species. But the molecular mechanism that links nutrition and survival is still poorly understood. Now, researchers … have identified a pivotal role for two enzymes that work together to determine the health benefits of diet restriction…

Identifying the receptor may allow researchers to design drugs that mimic the signal and could lead to new treatments for age-related diseases.

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New Cancer Drug Fights Tumors in Those With BRCA Mutations

(HealthDay News) Olaparib prevents malignant cells from repairing themselves, researchers say.

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Wal-Mart, online pharmacies top affordable drug list: ADA

(MedPage Today) [P]atients who shop for the best prices on prescription drugs at mail-order retailers and big-box discounters may save thousands of dollars a year, researchers found.

In an analysis of pricing data obtained from state attorneys general, Medco by Mail and Wal-Mart were the least expensive, while neighborhood and chain pharmacies generally charged the most.

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Less Frequent Social Activity Linked To More Rapid Loss Of Motor Function In Older Adults

(Science Daily) [R]esearchers at Rush University Medical Center have found that, among the elderly, less frequent participation in social activities is associated with a more rapid decline in motor function.

"It's not just running around the track that is good for you," said [the head of the study]. "Our findings suggest that engaging in social activities may also be protective against loss of motor abilities."

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Participating in this community can be one of your social activities.

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Eat Well, Live Longer

(HealthDay News) If you eat a healthy diet, you're likely to live longer. It might be trite advice, but a new study offers proof that it can make a difference in your longevity. Those with the best diets reduced their risk of death by up to 25 percent over a 10-year follow-up, said study author

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9 Weight Loss Secrets the Diet Industry Doesn't Want You to Know

(AlterNet) Even if you're not trying to lose weight, chances are you've seen some ideas on how to do so:

"Eat what you want and lose weight!"
"Lose thirty pounds in thirty days!"
"Finally, a diet that really works!"
"Lose one jean size every seven days!"
"Top three fat burners revealed"
"Ten minutes to a tighter tummy!"

But these claims are readily rebuked by anyone who's tried to lose five, ten, or one hundred pounds. Losing weight ain't that easy. It's not in a pill, it doesn't (usually) happen in thirty days, and judging from the myriad plans out there, there is no one diet that works for everyone.

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How soup can help you lose weight

In the battle to lose weight, hunger is the dieter's worst enemy. But research has revealed a simple aid to taming the appetite: soup. It's dieting's best kept secret says one science writer.

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Sleep Disorders Linked to Arrhythmias

(HealthDay News) -- Older men who have severe sleep-related breathing problems are at increased risk for abnormal heart rhythms, a U.S. study finds…

Obstructive sleep apnea -- which involves the partial or complete blockage of airways and is the most common type of sleep-related breathing disorder -- was associated with irregular heartbeats involving the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). Central sleep apnea -- caused by a malfunction in brain signals that control breathing muscles -- was more strongly associated with irregular heart rhythms in the heart's upper chambers (atria).

The more severe a man's sleep-disordered breathing, the greater his risk for arrhythmia.

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Dr. Whyte: What's in Your iPod?

(Discovery Health) A recent study showed that listening to music dilated people’s blood vessels by nearly 25%. Participants listened to 30 minutes of their favorite music daily. At the end of the study, they actually had lower cholesterol levels as well as improved heart function.

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Economy has adult children and parents becoming roommates

(McClatchy Newspapers) California trails only Hawaii in its percentage of multigenerational family households, according to AARP statistics. Beyond cultural norms, tough economic conditions often play a part in families' decisions to house or move in with their elders.

At the same time, retirement communities and upscale assisted living centers that once had long waiting lists find themselves slammed with vacancies, says the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

The problem? Plummeting home prices have discouraged seniors from cashing out of their existing homes.

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Social Activity Keeps Elders Young, Agile

(HealthDay News) Older people who don't socialize much might be increasing their risk for declining motor function and hastening their death, researchers from Rush University Medical Center report.

On the positive side, sociable seniors who keep active physically and mentally tend to stave off the decline in physical ability often associated with aging, the scientists added.

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Community: One of the objectives of this blog is to provide a platform for social interaction. Please participate in the discussion and invite others to do so.

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6 Reasons to Grow Old

(The New Old Age blog, New York Times) A rabbi reflects on the virtues of old age, among them "a liberation from the compulsion to set everyone else straight."

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Community: Besides, there's only one alternative, and it's not very attractive.

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Lower-carb diet may help you feel full longer

(Medical News Today) Reducing the amount of carbs in your diet may help you feel full longer and eat less, a new study has found. Experts say many people have trouble sticking to a strict very low-carb diet, but a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that lowering the percentage of carbs even 10 percent helped participants feel full longer than participants who stayed on the standard American diet. Experts say that over time it's likely that this increased feeling of satiety could lead people to eat less and lose weight without having to cut carbs in a dramatic way.

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Behavioral intervention plus meds may ease incontinence

(Modern Medicine) A new study suggests that combining medication with behavioral therapy may help ease incontinence. Researchersstudied 416 adults with overactive bladder symptoms whose symptoms were not controlled by Detrol alone. After sixteen weeks, 64 percent of patients who had been given Detrol along with self-administered behavioral therapy instructions reported being very satisfied with their incontinence symptoms, while 91 percent reported being a little satisfied. The study was funded by Detrol drugmaker Pfizer.

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Melatonin: The Fountain Of Youth?

(Science Daily) Melatonin can slow down the effects of aging. A team … has found that a treatment based on melatonin can delay the first signs of aging in a small mammal…

Melatonin is now known to play several beneficial roles. These include being an antioxidant, an anti-depressant, and helping to remediate sleep problems. The next step will be to understand the mode of action of the hormone on aging, so we can perhaps envisage its use on humans.

Community: I take melatonin to help me sleep. It would be nice if it’s also delaying the aging process! Do you take food supplements? If so, which ones?

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Bad test results often not reported to U.S. patients

(Reuters) Doctors in the United States fail to tell patients about abnormal test results 7 percent of the time, or a rate of about 1 out of every 14 tests, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

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Cancer therapy trial shows success

(CNN) An experimental therapy to treat melanoma that has spread to the liver is showing promise in clinical trials. It may one day also offer hope for other cancers -- like breast and colon -- that spread to the liver.

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New law puts tobacco under FDA oversight

(CNN) President Obama signed landmark legislation Monday giving the Food and Drug Administration new power to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA power to ban candy-flavored and fruit-flavored cigarettes, widely considered appealing to first-time smokers, including youths. It also prohibits tobacco companies from using terms such as "low tar," "light" or "mild," requires larger warning labels on packages, and restricts advertising of tobacco products.

It also requires tobacco companies to reduce levels of nicotine in cigarettes.

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Healthy Products That Don’t Break the Bank

(Prevention Magazine) Health buys can come with a hefty price tag. From ergonomic chairs to purified drinking water, your intentions are on target, but your wallet can suffer.

To help you make smart choices without going broke, we identified common (and costly) products Americans buy to improve their well-being, and in many cases found that you can achieve the same benefits with the cheaper version. These shopping tips will help you lose weight, ease back pain, and more without spending a fortune—plus, three products that are worth the splurge.

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Community: It always pays to shop around. I needed a blood pressure monitor, and I searched online until I found one for $20 at Target. The pump is manual, but the readout is digital and easy to read. Fancier monitors can cost $100 or more.

Factors Other Than Genes Could Cause Obesity, Insulin Study Shows

(Science Daily) Researchers have uncovered new evidence suggesting factors other than genes could cause obesity, finding that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat depending on subtle variations in how cells process insulin. Learning the precise mechanism responsible for fat storage in cells could lead to methods for controlling obesity.

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Drink This to Fight Fat

RealAge.com) Have a little fat you’d like to lose? Maybe now is a good time to turn on the kettle and pour yourself a cup of this: white tea. Made from the buds and early leaves of the same plants used to make green and black teas, white tea may have special fat-thwarting powers, a new study suggests.

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How eating chocolate can help improve your maths

(The Telegraph, U.K.) Mental arithmetic became easier after volunteers had been given large amounts of compounds found in chocolate, called flavanols, in a hot cocoa drink. They were also less likely to feel tired or mentally drained.

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A Fruit That’s Got Your Back

(RealAge.com) Here’s a refreshing snack you should get to know if you want to keep your spine feeling fine: grapes. Chill ’em, and eat a handful every day. New research suggests there’s something in grapes that could help protect certain types of back cartilage.

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Topical Application Of Chemotherapy Drug May Improve Appearance Of Aging Skin

(Science Daily) Topical application of the chemotherapy medication fluorouracil appears to reduce potentially precancerous skin patches and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, according to a new article.

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In a Chair? Take a Break

(RealAge.com) If you spend large chunks of your day in a sitting position, then listen up: It’s time for a break. From your chair.

Whether you’re riding in a car, working at a desk, or watching TV, you need to break up your repose -- and do it often. Get up, walk around, stretch your legs. Do something. Anything. If you don’t, your longevity will take a hit. Even if you are a regular exerciser.

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Marijuana Smoke on California Cancer List

(AP) Marijuana smoke has joined tobacco smoke and hundreds of other chemicals on a list of substances that California regulators say cause cancer.

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Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health

(Health Day) [T]he so-called "Mediterranean" diet are heart-friendly, while trans fats and foods with a high glycemic index can harm your heart, say researchers who reviewed 189 studies published between 1950 and 2007… The Mediterranean died is typically loaded with fruits, vegetables, grains and olive oil.

The researchers also found modest evidence of a causal relationship between heart health and several other foods and vitamins, such as fish, omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources, folate, whole grains, alcohol, fruits, fiber, dietary vitamins E and C and beta carotene. There was weak evidence of a causal relationship between heart health and vitamin E and C in supplement form, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and total fats, alpha-linoleic acid, meat, eggs and milk.

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Low Glycemic Breakfast May Increase Benefits Of Working Out

(Science Daily) [Research] suggests that exercise and diet interact to influence health. For instance, exercising after short-term fasting (such as before breakfast) may increase the amount of fat burned. Similarly, consumption of a meal eliciting a low blood glucose response prior to exercise may also boost the use of body fat (instead of glucose).

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Calcium plus vitamin D may help shed body fat

(Reuters) Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may help overweight women to lose body fat, but only if their calcium intake from food is already quite low, a small study suggests. The study, which followed 63 overweight or obese women, found that those who took a calcium-plus-vitamin-D supplement in addition to a lower-calorie diet lost no more body fat over 15 weeks than those given a placebo. When the researchers looked at only those women with a very low calcium intake before the study, the supplement did seem to have a benefit.

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The Exercise Stress Test

(Everyday Health) What is it? The primary purpose of an exercise stress test is to determine your ability to increase blood flow through your coronary arteries to your heart muscle when your heart is beating faster and/or harder, demanding two to five times the blood flow it gets at rest.

If you have been feeling symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion, an exercise stress test will help your doctor figure out whether these symptoms are coming from sluggish blood flow due to a blockage in one or more of your coronary arteries. The stress test will also indicate how severely the blockage is limiting the blood flow, which is crucial information in deciding whether to recommend an invasive or noninvasive approach to treatment.

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Stop Foot Pain for Good

(Prevention Magazine) The leading causes of foot pain and simple steps you can take to get back on your feet.

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Dramatic Outcomes In Prostate Cancer Study

(Science Daily) Mayo Clinic patients whose prostate cancer had been considered inoperable are now cancer free thanks in part to an experimental drug therapy that was used in combination with standardized hormone treatment and radiation therapy. The men were participating in a clinical trial of an immunotherapeutic agent called MDX-010 or ipilimumab.

In these two cases, physicians say the approach initiated the death of a majority of cancer cells and caused the tumors to shrink dramatically, allowing surgery. In both cases, the aggressive tumors had grown well beyond the prostate into the abdominal areas.

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Green tea could delay prostate cancer: U.S. study

(Reuters) Active compounds in green tea may slow down the progression of prostate cancer, researchers reported on Friday. Capsules made using green tea extracts called polyphenols lowered levels of proteins that tumors use to grow, the researchers found.

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G.E. and Intel Working on Remote Monitors to Provide Home Health Care

(New York Times) The companies plan to spend $250 million to find ways for doctors to remotely monitor, diagnose and consult with patients.

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Wish Fulfillment? No. But Dreams (and Sleep) Have Meaning

(Time) REM sleep appears to not only improve our ability to identify positive emotions in others; it may also round out the sharp angles of our own emotional experiences. [Head researcher Matthew] Walker suggests that one function of REM sleep - dreaming, in particular - is to allow the brain to sift through that day's events, process any negative emotion attached to them, then strip it away from the memories. He likens the process to applying a "nocturnal soothing balm." REM sleep, he says, "tries to ameliorate the sharp emotional chips and dents that life gives you along the way."…

"It's not that you've forgotten. You haven't," he says. "It's a memory of an emotional episode, but it's no longer emotional itself."

That palliative safety-valve quality of sleep may be hampered when we fail to reach REM sleep or when REM sleep is disrupted, Walker says. "If you don't let go of the emotion, what results is a constant state of anxiety," he says.

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