Archived Articles - October 2012


Clinical hypnosis helps to reduce hot flashes after menopause
    Oct-02-2012

If the findings of a latest study by scientists at the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory of Baylor University are any indication, hot flashes related to menopausal symptoms can be effectively diminished by clinical hypnosis. Besides reducing hot flashes by nearly 80 per cent, the hypnotic relaxation therapy helped the subjects to experience enhanced quality of life and lesser depression and anxiety.

Director of the Mind-Body Medicine Laboratory and a neuroscience and psychology professor at Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences, Gary Elkins, Ph. D., says that the study is the first of its kind where they evaluated self-reporting as well as physical supervision - not merely an alteration in endurance or aptitude to cope, but even the hot flashes diminished.

The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine funded the study, whose results were reported online in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society.

The study involved 187 women subjects who were monitored for more than five weeks wherein the scientists assessed self-reporting of hot flashes and the physical signs of the condition. Clinically trained therapists provided hypnosis sessions every week to these women, who also exercised self-hypnosis employing audio recordings and visualizations like a cool mountain inlet or a snowy path. Elkins said that after the fourth session, the participants experienced a 70 per cent decrease in hot flashes and it lessened to 80 per cent following a follow-up three months later, while it was completely eliminated in some women. The decrease ought to be 50 per cent or less in order to be clinically noteworthy.

The study involved women participants wearing skin monitors having electrodes and they were asked to press on a response button while experiencing a hot flash and the monitor documented bodily changes like difference in temperature.

The hypnotic relaxation therapy is extremely engaging for women who desire to be engaged in their personal therapy. Besides saving costs, it also does not cause any side effect. When practised for a prolonged period this intervention may possibly lessen the healthcare expenses and also turn out to be a safe and effectual alternative for menopausal women, Elkins said.

In addition to this therapy, treatment with estrogen or progestin hormones helps to reduce hot flashes by as much as 90 to 100 per cent, but it often augments the chances of developing heart diseases or breast cancer, Elkins said, adding, using antidepressants reduce hot flashes by 45 to 60 per cent, but may have side effects like diminishing libido and parched mouth. On the other hand, herbal remedies are just a little more beneficial compared to a placebo.

Describing the study as among the most extensive for menopausal intervention, Elkins said that in the subsequent step they will work to find out whether it is possible to provide the intervention through audio and video recordings to benefit millions of women and also its long-standing cost advantages. Further studies are also need to determine if this can help the immune system and prevent ailments.

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Vitamin D and immune system
    Oct-03-2012

Contradicting the results of earlier studies that claimed using vitamin D helps to strengthen our immune system, the findings of a latest research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association did not find any evidence that taking this vitamin helped to prevent colds.

The BBC reports that a team of scientists from the University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand, performed the 'gold standard' of experiments - denoting a placebo-controlled experiment performed in a random manner, to find whether using vitamin D supplements effected colds in any way.

These scientists asked 322 hale and hearty adults to either take supplements containing vitamin D or a placebo once every month for a period of 18 months. The subjects were given a starting dosage of 200,000 IU (international unit) of vitamin D orally and, subsequently, 200,000 IU of the vitamin after one month or given a placebo in the same dosing schedule. During the conclusion of the study, it was found that on average, participants in both groups each had just below four upper respiratory tract (comprising the nose, throat and trachea) infections accompanied by symptoms that continued for 12 days on average in both the groups.

The BBC says that while adults suffer from two to four colds every year, children catch as many as 10 colds during the same period. Although we generally obtain vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, this vitamin is also present in specific foods, for instance, salmon and sardines - fish that contain fats.

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Smoking aids can actually alleviate the sting of quitting
    Oct-05-2012

Every New Year, numerous people resolve to give up smoking, but in reality several thousand other people take up this habit every year! It is quite easy to say 'stop smoking', but when you actually try to do it, it seems to be an extremely overwhelming task. However, it might be a lot easier to quit smoking provided you possess a normal stop smoking aid, such as 'Zero Nicotine', which facilitates in alleviating as well as equalizing your body through an extremely tricky phase of change when you quit smoking.

In fact, nicotine is among the substances available in the market now that is extremely addictive. Despite the fact that the cost of a cigarette packet has soared exponentially during the last decade, the number of people addicted to smoking has not decreased substantially.

It is a well-known fact that many smokers have actually tried to give up their habit at some point of time or the other, but have only resumed the habit owing to general after effects like withdrawal symptoms (common anxiety, depression) and weight gain. However, they do not realize that once this phase passes, their anxiety, depression will be lesser resulting in a general feeling of health and happiness. In addition, it has been found that non-smokers do not fall sick, catch colds and flu, as often.

The stop smoking aid that we are discussing here is a reliable, effectual and highly regarded product made by a well-known company involved in manufacturing health and self-help aids. This product has facilitated numerous people to quit their smoking habit with minimum effort and with considerably reduced withdrawal symptoms compared to trying to give up smoking all by one-self.

In fact, 'Zero Nicotine' is basically a completely natural, highly effectual constant release smoking patch and, hence, it continuously releases the ingredients that are precisely required to restrain your desire for nicotine throughout the day, lessening the chances of developing any withdrawal symptoms and, most importantly, the prospect of smoking again. Among all natural smoking cessation aids available today, 'Zero Nicotine' is most commended and has several contented customers.

In order to assist you in hastening the process of smoking cessation, this stop smoking aid encloses ingredients that possess typical antioxidant attributes that facilitate the detoxification of your body as well as elimination of nicotine amassed in your cells. It is worth mentioning that once you quit smoking totally, your body will be free from all the injurious consequences of smoking.

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Tomatoes and stroke
    Oct-09-2012

The findings of a latest study undertaken by Finnish scientists and reported in the Neurology journal revealed that consuming tomatoes may considerably diminish the chances of having a stroke. In addition, the study also suggested that taking diets having high vegetable and fruit content too are helpful in avoiding stroke. According to the study, potent antioxidants in these foods seem to be the crucial factor.

Jouni Karppi, study author who is associated with the Kuopio-based University of Eastern Finland, stresses on the fact that this research has contributed to the proof that taking a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is related to diminished risks of suffering a stroke.

The study undertaken by the Finnish scientists for almost 12 years is founded on information collected from over 1,000 men in their middle ages suggests that individuals having the maximum lycopene levels in their bloodstream face about 55 per cent lesser risk of having a stroke.

The study involved as many as 497 participating men. Ten among these 258 subjects having minimum levels of lycopene in the bloodstream suffered a stroke, while only one in 25 people among the remaining 259 participants having the maximum levels of antioxidant had a stroke. In fact, it was found that the connection between chances of suffering a stroke and levels of lycopene in the bloodstream was still more obvious when the strokes caused by blood clots were included - excluding the strokes attributable to hemorrhages.

It was found that men having the maximum lycopene levels faced the risk of suffering from a stroke due to blood clots by 59 per cent compared to those having the minimum antioxidant levels. During the complete course of the study, altogether 67 participants had a stroke.

Although the scientists also examined some other antioxidants, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and alpha-tocopherol, which is basically a type of vitamin E, as well as retinol and vitamin A, they were unable to discover any connection between them and the chances of having a stroke.

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Are soybeans effective in protecting against breast cancer?
    Oct-11-2012

Contrary to the anxiety over the use of soy by women having breast cancer or those with the risk factors of the disease, findings of a latest study suggest that using soy is directly related to diminished chances of developing this disease.

According to a professor and cancer epidemiologist at the Nashville, Tennessee-based Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, such women were concerned over soybean use as it contains soy isoflavone, which produces a feeble effect akin to that of estrogen. It is believed that estrogen encourages the development of breast cancer cells. Admitting that isoflavone has an effect similar to that of estrogen, Shu says compared to the original body hormone, it is actually very weak.

While this is welcome news, what has actually enthused scientists is that the most recent and biggest study, findings of which were brought out in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in this field till date has in fact related consuming soy to diminished chances of developing breast cancer. During the course of this extensive study, as many as 10,000 American and Chinese women, who have survived breast cancer, were surveyed over a period of nearly eight years. The diets of these women were supervised and, subsequently, the scientists discovered that the risk of developing breast cancer was about one-fourth less in women who ate soy isoflavones in a minimum measure of 10 mg daily compared to those who consumed below 4 mg every day.

In addition, earlier experts were apprehensive that consuming soy-based foods may possibly diminish the efficacy of tamoxifen, a medication used to lessen the return of breast cancer. However, the findings of the study undertaken by Shu and his team revealed that women taking tamoxifen on a regular basis and ate sufficient amounts of soy isoflavones faced a lesser risk of recurrence of breast cancer compared to this who never took the medication and ate soy isoflavones in minimum amounts.

Shu has, however, pointed out that the study involved using dietary soy and so far no study has been performed to ascertain if the effects will be similar when supplements containing soy isoflavone are used.

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Indoor tanning related to more cancer forms
    Oct-14-2012

Lest you continue going to tanning beds even after being aware that it has the maximum cancer risk evaluation (together with smoking cigarettes), findings of a latest research may possibly influence you to believe that a golden (actually orange) radiance is a health hazard not worth taking. Findings of the study, reported by the British Medical Journal, reveal that besides being an element of danger for malignant melanoma, indoor tanning also enhances the chances of developing two other widespread forms of cancers.

According to the authors of the study, while indoor tanning is an existing element of danger for developing malignant melanoma, it also increases the chances of developing basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma - the two most widespread forms of cancers in humans.

In keeping with earlier studies, the scientists also discovered that indoor tanning at an early age enhances this peril. The study quotes a confession by one victim, as a teenager she often used tanning beds because of her pale skin. She says that in the case there were laws to prevent her from tanning, by that time, she might have been very frightful as a teen, but now that she is aware of things, she would have been thankful afterwards.

Fortunately, Ontario is in the process of legally prohibiting teens from going to tanning beds. The ban has already been effective in Oakville (Ontario), while Nova Scotia has banned people below 19 years from using tanning beds. In addition, other provinces, including Quebec, British Columbia and Newfoundland have also declared that they would enact comparable laws.

No doubt such laws banning tanning beds are a great move, one wonders as to why such things are not banned absolutely - or at least ban them from locations promoting a healthy way of life. While one cannot accuse the popular gym chains in Canada, they can of course say that there is sufficient reason for not smoking in hospitals. Therefore, something as cancerous should not exist in fitness clubs too.

Have you been convinced by the findings of this study that tanning beds are deadly? Are you of the view that only banning the teens from using tanning beds is sufficient? Or they also ought to be prohibited from the fitness clubs (or totally) too?


Study finds watching scary movies burn calories
    Oct-29-2012

Here is some good news for people trying to lose weight. Henceforth, watch your preferred horror movies if you are keen on losing those extra pounds.

According to a report in The Telegraph, a newspaper in the UK, a recent study by scientists at the University of Westminster found that watching a scary movie for 90 minutes may help in burning an equal amount of calories used up while walking for 30 minutes.

During the study, ten diverse individuals were made to watch various classic spine-chilling movies and the scientists measured their heart rates, intake of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide. It was found that the subjects burned an additional 33 per cent of calories while watching these horror films.

A senior lecturer as well as a specialist (physiology and cell metabolism) at the University of Westminster, Dr. Richard Mackenzie says that during the study altogether the participants watched 10 horror movies, which made the participants' pulse go fast and augmented the heart rate. According to him, the quickening of the pulse and more rapid blood circulation throughout the body results in the body to produce more adrenaline.

It was found that people watching different horror films burned different amounts of calories. For instance, those who watched 'The Shining', a 1980 classic by Stanley Kubrick, on average burned 184 calories, while individuals watching 'Jaws' used up 161 calories. In addition, people also watched 'The Exorcist' (burning 158 calories), 'Alien' (used up 152 calories) and 'Saw' (burning 133 calories).

Horror movie buffs may possibly shed some extra pounds during the weekend, as a report by Box Office Mojo says that four of the Top 10 horror movies, including 'Silent Hill: Revelation', a film based on survival game, 'Hotel Transylvania', a cartoon film full of fun, and 'Sinister', an creepy horror movie, were released recently.


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