Category: Mental Health

Early Pregnancy Folate Status and Childhood Hyperactivity

2 June, 2011 (19:52) | Mental Health | By: Health news

The authors tested 100 mothers for red cell folate levels at the end of the first trimester, and folate intake was assessed throughout participants’ pregnancies. Head circumference of the newborns was measured and weight was measured at birth and 9 months of age. When the children were 8.7 years of age, the mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire on the behavior of their children covering hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer problems. The authors controlled for maternal smoking, alcohol consumption, and gender.

Key Findings
Red cell folate levels and total folate intake levels were both found to be lower in the mothers of those children later reported to have high levels of hyperactivity and peer problems. The range of folate intake for mothers was 328.5–624.4 mcg in early pregnancy and 269.9–410 mcg in late pregnancy. Controlling for mothers’ smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy did not change the results.

Practice Implications
This study is the first to show an association between folate status of the mothers and behavioral outcomes in their children. In addition, they also found that decreased head-growth velocity was also associated with lower folate levels during pregnancy. It should be noted that head growth is a rough indicator of brain growth.

However, there was an association here, indicating that in utero folate status does affect neurodevelopment, and decreased fetal brain growth is one of the results.

However, there was an association here, indicating that in utero folate status does affect neurodevelopment, and decreased fetal brain growth is one of the results. It is well known that inadequate prenatal folate intake will affect other aspects of nervous system development, evidenced by its relationship to spina bifida and other spinal dysraphisms. This study also provides information as to when folate status may be more important. In this case, the evidence points to the first trimester. In fact, other studies have shown that nutritional status in early pregnancy is more influential than it is later in pregnancy.

It is concerning that nutrition could play such a significant role in the growing fetus at a time that many mothers may not even know they are pregnant or may believe prenatal nutrition is not particularly important. What is even more concerning is that the range of folate intake for the mothers in this study did not fall far out of the recommended minimum prenatal dose of 400 mcg. It is possible that other confounding factors will affect the folate status and usable folate that is consumed, such as tobacco smoke, oral contraceptives, trimethoprim, methotrexate, or sulfasalazine. Therefore, maternal use before pregnancy may create a further disadvantage when compared to other women not using these substances.

Folate deficiency is known to decrease fetal cellular replication, especially in the brain, leading to smaller brain size5 and behavioral problems. It is possible that prenatal folate deficiency affects the risk of later hyperactivity through its influence on dopaminergic system development, but this has yet to be studied. Other research makes a fairly solid connection between folate and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Pediatric leukemia survivors who have mutations in 5,10-methylenetetrahydroreductase (MTHFR), a crucial enzyme that provides usable folate for DNA synthesis, show ADHD symptoms later in life. This could be further affected by chemotherapeutic folate antagonists (in particular methotrexate) commonly used in these patients.

The authors themselves state that there are many confounding factors here, especially after the child is born. However, when one looks at the past literature, it makes sense that behavior would be affected. It might not be the only factor, but it certainly is an important one to consider when counseling mothers for their family planning. This might be even more important in those mothers who suffer themselves from attention deficit disorder (ADD), ADHD, or depression. In addition, it is important to note that mothers who have a past history of delivering a child with a neural tube defect have a significantly increased risk of neural tube defects in subsequent births. Therefore, those mothers need much higher levels of folate intake, up to 4 mg, starting one month before they become pregnant.

Helping Nurses Manage Their Stress by Integrating Health Promotion. Part 3

10 November, 2010 (13:29) | Mental Health | By: Health news

The Cayuga Community Health Network Center consists of 340 nursing employees. Of this group 275 agreed to attend the Stress Management for Professional Caregivers workshop. All of the participants were female, with the majority (90%) being Caucasian. Levels of education varied among nurses. Approximately (22%) have a LPN degree, less than half (45%) have a RN in nursing, while (18%) have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a little less than one-quarter (15%) have a Master of Science in Nursing.

The administration from the Cayuga Community Health Network Center in Auburn, New York conducted a needs assessment with all of their nurses and provided employees the opportunity to participate in a workshop for professional caregivers to reduce stress.

Two hundred and seventy five of the three hundred and forty nursing employees agreed to participate in the stress management workshop which was facilitated by a faculty member in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education at Ithaca College. In this stress management workshop (see Table 2 for activities conducted by the Cayuga Community Health Network), nurses learned: 1) how to identify their stressors, 2) how stress can psychologically and physically impact the body, and 3) learned a variety of other relaxation techniques (e.g., diaphragmatic breathing and yoga). Most (84%) of the participating nurses stated they planned to share the workshop information with other nurses and family members. A majority (85%) said the workshop made them think about how they handled stress. Nearly all (97%) of the nurses stated that the information in the stress management workshop was valuable to them professionally. The nurses rated the workshops informative and excellent.

The success of this stress workshop for nurses was a result of the collaboration among and support of administration from the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center at Ithaca College, the Cayuga Community Health Network Center, and an assistant professor from the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education at Ithaca College. Implementing health promotion programs from an ecological perspective have the potential to reduce stress for nurses and reduce health care cost for the employer. The idea that administrators have a shared vision, as their nurses and are willing to allocate recourses for nurses to reduce their stress shows that a multi-level ecological model is conducive to a worksite environment.

Helping Nurses Manage Their Stress by Integrating Health Promotion. Part 2

9 November, 2010 (22:50) | Mental Health | By: Health news

An Ecological approach to address stress among nurses requires multi levels of influence. For example, nurses seeking opportunities for accurate health information from peer reviewed stress management journals and textbooks represent the intrapersonal emphasis. Group discussion seminars between nurses, stress management therapists, and faculty members who teach stress management courses represent the interpersonal emphasis. Administrators in hospitals and nursing homes who actively recruit and give incentives to nurses for participating in worksite health promotion programs reflect the institutional emphasis. Collaborating with community church initiatives and other organizations such as the American Institute of Stress represents the community emphasis. Finally, local, state and federal policies that provide rules and guidelines to follow (nursing code of ethics) reflect the policy emphasis. Since stress is so complex an ecological approach for nurses to reduce stress is far more effective than a single level influence.

The working environments of nurses (hospitals, nursing homes) serve as an important venue for influencing community and institutional factors of the ecological model. In the United States registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with about three out of five jobs being located in hospitals (U. S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006). The worksite has significant potential to influence and support health norms and values due to preexisting institutional and local structures (Reardon, 1998). Therefore, employee health promotion programs offer hospital administrators with opportunities for nurses to reduce their stress while they reduce their health care cost (Forouzesh, Ratzker, & Leslie, 1984). Therefore, when the faculty from the department of Health Promotion and Physical Education at Ithaca College was asked by the administration from the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center at Ithaca College to design a stress management program for the nurses at the Cayuga Community Health Network Center, the first priority was to design a program that uses an ecological framework. The purpose of this study is to design and implement how nurses at the Cayuga Community Health Network Center can reduce stress by using an Ecological Approach on health promotion programs.

The Cayuga Community Health Network Center consists of 340 nursing employees. Of this group 275 agreed to attend the Stress Management for Professional Caregivers workshop. All of the participants were female, with the majority (90%) being Caucasian. Levels of education varied among nurses. Approximately (22%) have a LPN degree, less than half (45%) have a RN in nursing, while (18%) have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a little less than one-quarter (15%) have a Master of Science in Nursing.

Helping Nurses Manage Their Stress by Integrating Health Promotion

8 November, 2010 (16:19) | Mental Health | By: Health news

In the United States registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation; with about three out of five jobs being located in hospitals Everyday more and more nurses describe their profession as increasingly hectic and stressful. The purpose of this study is to design and implement how nurses at the Cayuga Community Health Network Center can reduce stress by using an Ecological Approach on health promotion programs. Two-hundred and seventy five nurses agreed to attend the Stress Management for Professional Caregivers workshop. All of the participants were female, with the majority being Caucasian. A majority of the nurses stated the workshop made them think about how they handle stress. Nearly all of the nurses stated that the information in the stress management workshop was valuable to them professionally. The success of this stress workshop demonstrates that implementing health promotion programs from an ecological perspective has the potential to reduce stress among nurses.

Over the past 20 years, the proportion of women entering the nursing profession has risen steadily (Kane, 1996). Although women are entering the workforce at a steady rate they still remain one of the highest professions to experience burnout due to high levels of stress (Robinson-Kurpius, Keim, 1994). Whether in a nursing care facility, clinic, or hospital setting worksite health promotion activities can provide numerous benefits to both the employer and the nurses who experience stress.

Many health educators believe that in order to achieve the goals of Healthy People 2010 of increased quality of life, and job satisfaction especially among nurses, it is necessary for program interventions to be viewed from an ecological perspective. (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler, and Glanz (1998) offered, “An Ecological Model on Health Promotion Programs,” as a framework that identified multiple levels of influence (or factors) in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion programs. The Ecological Model is described as a dynamic interaction between the individual and the environment. Intrapersonal factors consist of health education activities based on ones knowledge, attitudes and skills. The second level described by McLeroy et al. is interpersonal, which provides social identity, support, and role definition. Institutional factors are another level of influence which provides rules and regulations that help guide the group members within the organization. The fourth level consists of community factors where there is a connection among groups to protect, promote, and preserve the health of the entire community. The fifth and final level of influence includes policy such as changing laws at the national, state, and local levels.

How Seizure Threshold Depends on Breathing

25 October, 2010 (22:25) | Mental Health | By: Health news

Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas we exhale, controls excitability of nerve cells, as it has been proven by decades of medical research. Slight rise in CO2 level in the brain reduces excitability of nervous cell and makes people, when studies are done on humans, calmer and more relaxed. Voluntary hyperventilation, or overbreathing, causes the opposite effect: it makes brain cells more excitable and people more anxious. You may easy recall horror movies where in the state of extreme panic people breathe heavily through their mouth. As a result, their nerve cells become over-excited (or “irritable”, as it was called in physiological studies done decades ago) and predisposed people become confused, they cannot make their mind (indecisive) and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. All these research has direct relationship to seizures, seizure threshold and epilepsy.

During seizures, nerve cells become hypersensitive and discharge signals spontaneously, while adjacent brain areas amplify these signals. Furthermore, numerous studies devoted to epilepsy proved that hyperventilation readily provokes seizures. Many medical studies (quoted below) suggested that hyperventilation readily provokes seizures in all patients. As a result, when doing EEG test, medical professionals use hyperventilation to induce seizures so that to confirm the diagnosis of epilepsy or related conditions leading to seizures. These are some of the titles of publications, which claimed the ability of overbreathing and low brain CO2 to produce seizures:

– Will a critical level of hyperventilation-induced hypocapnia [low CO2] always induce an absence seizure? (Wirrell et al, 1996)

– Effect of hyperventilation on seizure activation: potentiation by antiepileptic drug tapering (Jonas et al, 2010 )

– Childhood absence epilepsy: Electroclinical features and diagnostic criteria (Ma et al, 2010)

– Clinical and electroencephalographic characteristics of epilepsy with myoclonic absences (Yang et al, 2009)

– Utility of daily supervised hyperventilation during long-term video-EEG monitoring (Arain et al, 2009)

– Moderate hyperventilation prolongs electroencephalogram seizure duration of the first electroconvulsive therapy (Sawayama et al, 2008).

– Correlation between cerebral perfusion and hyperventilation enhanced focal spiking activity (Marrosu et al, 2000)

In a 1972 research article published in the British Journal of Anesthesia, the scientists measured the exact numbers by monitoring averaged evoked electromyogram of brain cells. They found that even very slight changes in brain CO2 levels have profound effect on seizure threshold. For example, just 2.5% decrease in CO2 levels in nerve cells increased their excitability more than 2 times (Higashi et al, 1972). Such small CO2 decrease can be achieved by one large sigh or a few coughs!

While normal CO2 concentrations (the medical norm) is 40 mm Hg, most modern people breathe much more than this medical norm established about 100 years ago. Hence, most people are CO2-deficient. In sick people with chronic disorders, breathing is even heavier (you can often see and hear panting of the sick at light physical exertion). Hence, it is normal that rates of epilepsy and incidence of seizures have had a sharp increase during the last century. This change in breathing pattern (from slow and light to deep and fast) was due to abnormal lifestyle factors for the modern civilization, including mouth breathing, lack of physical exercise (or exercise with breathing through the mouth), chest breathing, overeating, sleeping on one’s back and many others. Furthermore, hundreds of studies proved that overbreathing leads to lowered brain and body oxygen content and brain hypoxia (low O2) is another contributing factor.

Consider common environmental and lifestyle that make breathing heavier and produce hyperventilation in all people:

– stress (when we are stressed our unconscious breathing becomes deeper and faster)

– hyperthermia (or overheating)

– overeating (one may know that physical exercise is very hard after large meals)

– abnormally high or low blood sugar

– sleep deprivation.

You can easily see that these are exactly the same factors that can trigger various types of seizures, including stress-induced seizures, febrile seizures (due to fever in children), hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic seizures, and seizures triggered by lack of sleep. Virtually anything that is harmful and abnormal for the human body, including poisons, drugs, toxins, infections, poor posture, strong emotions makes breathing heavier and can lead to seizures only if the person have heavy unconscious breathing at rest.

Hence, the solution is to learn how to improve oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body and brain by normalizing breathing using breathing techniques and correction of lifestyle risk factors.Then we can prevent all types and chances of seizures and treat epilepsy successfully.

Resolve Short Term Stress Fast and Effectively

9 October, 2010 (17:02) | Mental Health | By: Health news

Stress is one of the most prominent symptoms of the modern day age. From the youngster taking exams at schools from there early teenage years to their late teens, to the middle age person even to someone in their twilight years. We are all effected by stress at some point in our life some more so than others. Some stress is good for us otherwise life gets boring, so people search for stress to some degree. The stress of watching your football team play hoping for a win, the stress of doing a bungee jump or a sky dive. Some stress is actually proven to be good for us to bring us out of our comfort zone and allow us to expand as a human and keep our mental and emotional psyche fulfilled. However there are stresses that are harmful to our emotional and mental well-being and also our health. The Stress of weather we can pay the mortgage the next day, the stress of being chronically late because of a traffic Jam. How we deal with stress comes down to our own psychology and mental understanding of the situation often our beliefs and subconscious patterns play a big role. However the aim of this article is to present some of the most cutting edge and popular ways for dealing with short term stress with a long term solution. All of these solutions don’t have an instantaneous effect, saying that some people have mentioned they do. However for most these activities must be practiced daily and the massive impact they will have on our stress levels will eventually come forward.

1. Regular Massage. Massage has become one of the western worlds most popular cures to soothe and eradicate physical and therefore mental tension. Book a massage every 2-3 weeks and the removal of tight knots in the body will soothe the mind and cause a sense of well being and relaxation.
2. Meditation. Probably in my honest opinion the best method if you can implement it into your routine is meditation. Take time out each day to quieten the mind and think about absolutely NOTHING.. NO – THING the relaxing effect this has on the mind is amazing not only will you be able to pin point your focus more it will also show you how much the mind actually wanders. By relaxing the mind the body will also relax also.
3. Stretching and Yoga. Stretching reduces stress levels by removing built up tensions within the body. It is proven to also raise endorphins, metabolism and keep the body supple and in shape.
4. Aerobic exercise. The biggest stress release of aerobic exercise is the endorphin release. Endorphins make you feel good a chemical released into the blood stream. Small amount of aerobic exercise such as 20 minutes have scientifically proven to release bad moods and anxiety.

The above 4 methods are tested proven methods for reducing stress levels. Apply one of these methods into your life and notice the impact with a few weeks. I promise you, your be ecstatic with the results you feel and see.

Panic Cures – Therapy

7 October, 2010 (18:59) | Mental Health | By: Health news

Therapy is an ever growing method used to treat and potentially cure patients’ suffering due to its overall benefits and positive results after treatment in comparison to medical intervention and other cures offered in the market place. There has also been a resounding interest in training and provision of specialized facilities that will cater for these peoples need. This is good news for sufferers as they will benefit from the program through results as well as the social aspect and one on one involvement in a more direct and specialized direction of treatment.

  • Benefits of the program include:
  • * A way to overcome attacks, making life easier for the individual with the chance of managing attacks to a level of totally stopping them from occurring. * No Need for Drugs. Previous methods deployed the use of drugs to knock oneself into a comatose state of mind during which they would not experience any attacks. These were drugs that knocked out part of the brains routine functions that are thought to be responsible for these sessions. It left the individual in a state that would be unsafe to operate heavy machinery while impairing their ability to do any strenuous tasks both physically and mentally. This would put the individual in a hazardous position not only to him or herself but those around them. One would live a state that could be prescribed as a zombie state if one relied solely on medication to control their attacks. * The therapist is able to identify and rationalize triggers enabling the individual to be aware of them and as a result work towards handling their emotions and anxiety. * Therapy is progressive and permanent. Once a hurdle is overcome, it is permanent. progress is made on a step by step basis and issues or areas once resolved do not need to be repeated or revisited. Unlike medicine which has to be taken constantly to keep its effect going, therapy has a life long lasting effect. * Therapy guarantees result no matter how severe or mild the case. If one participates routinely, one should hope to resolve issues and come to terms with several items in their lives that may have been the onset of these attacks.

    There is a higher rate of success when people use therapy than any other method. Individuals are able to go through the program at their own pace and discover which exact method works for them whether their case is severe or not, progress is made steadily.

    Get Rid of Gas

    11 September, 2010 (19:39) | Mental Health | By: Health news

    Have you been burping often or suffering from flatulence? As you know, a situation where need to pass the gas can be very embarrassing. Almost everybody suffers from gas issues but there is a more serious aspect to it than being only embarrassing. Some of the issues that are a result of gas problem are esophageal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder and gastritis. So, what can you do to get rid of gas?

    1. Majority of people are lactose intolerant. Some of them are not even aware that they are lactose intolerance. But if you don’t know that you are lactose intolerant and are suffering from gas problem then try staying away from milk and dairy products. Cut down the quantity of milk products in your diet. If you are lactose intolerant, you will soon observe that after cutting down on milk products you have very less or no gas issues. Most of the Americans have milk products and milk sugar in huge amounts in their diet. Good news for all milk product lovers is that there are so many alternatives available in the market today which you can use instead of milk or milk sugar.

    2. Broccoli contains substance that leads to gaseousness. But broccoli is important source of anti-oxidants thus do not avoid its usage. Take over-the-counter medication to reduce the gas problem after eating broccoli.

    3. People who consume high fibre diet also encounter gaseousness. But neither fibre can be avoided. Consider using over-the-counter medication as mentioned in above. You cannot neglect the properties of high fibre foods to get over gas trouble but with the help of few medications, you can successfully get rid of gas. Today’s life has become so much fast and eating habits are also getting bad. More people are suspecting troubles related to gas. A daily walk can slowly reduce gas problem and it is also a good habit to keep in shape.

    However, for fast relief, many over-the-counter medications can be used to get rid of gas. But with people having ongoing issues of gas should contact doctor as a regular gas problem can turn into major health issue.

    Stem Cells Parkinson’s

    8 September, 2010 (21:12) | Mental Health | By: Health news

    When it comes to your brain health there is no greater fear amongst people than the thought of developing a disease such as Alzheimer’s Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or Lou Gehrigs Disease (ALS). These are dreaded conditions that can take away your heath, your mind, your body and your life. Stem cells Parkinson’s could well be the solution for this worrying problem.

  • Stem Cells Parkinsons – Is this the Answer?
  • The thought of losing your mind is certainly very worrying, however new research in the field of stem cells parkinsons disease seems very promising and may well prove to be the answer for those with diseases such as dementia, Lou Gehrig’s or Parkinson’s disease.

    Stem cell Parkinson therapy is now becoming more accessible and available for sufferers of these conditions.

    Research has now indicated that by using fetal stem cell therapy, in the stem cells parkinson’s treatment procedure, there is no need to utilize the controversial embryonic stem cells therapy technique.

    This new therapy offers the potential for these conditions to be significantly improved and there seems to be new found hope on the horizon for those with family or friends that are affected.

  • Can You Regenerate Your Brain Cells?
  • About 10 years ago, medical experts believed that neurons in the adult human brain and spinal cord could not regenerate. Once dead, it was thought, central nervous system neurons were dead for good. Since rebuilding nervous tissue was not possible, research focused almost entirely on therapeutic approaches to limiting further damage.

    That notion that brain cells and tissues cannot be regenerated is now history. In the 1990s, neuroscientists discovered that some parts of the adult human brain can, in fact, generate new neurons, at least under certain circumstances.

    Also, they found that the new neurons arise from “neural stem cells” in the fetal as well as in the adult brain. These young cells look almost the same as cells in a developing fetus that give rise to the brain and spinal cord. The researchers also found that these neural stem cells could generate many, if not all, types of cells found in the brain.

    Such brain cells includes neurons (the main message carriers in the nervous system, which use long, thin projections called axons to transmit signals over long distance) as well as crucial neural-support cells called oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.

    The discovery that the brain has a regenerative capacity is exciting and leads to hope that it may eventually be possible to repair damage from terrible degenerative diseases such as alzheimer’s dementia, parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou gehrig’s disease), as well as from brain and spinal cord injuries resulting from stroke or trauma.

    Researchers have used stem cells experimentally to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in rats, demonstrating the cells can be turned into neurons that make dopamine, a key brain chemical.

    The researchers at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., showed in tests that the cells injected into rats whose brains had been chemically damaged would automatically convert to correct the Parkinson’s symptoms.

    Experts said the study, which featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was significant because it showed stem cells could be used to treat brain disorders.

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins University also reported preliminary evidence that stem cells can restore movement in an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This degenerative disorder, also called as Lou Gehrig’s disease, progressively destroys special nerves found in the spinal cord, known as motor neurons that control movement. Patients with ALS develop increasing muscle weakness over months to years, which ultimately lead’s to paralysis and death. The cause is largely unknown, and there are no effective treatments.

    Three months after giving stem cell injections to rats with ALS, many of the treated rats were able to move their hind limbs and walk, while the rats that did not receive cell injections remained paralyzed. The researchers were impressed by the results.

    Stem cells for Parkinsons using precursor cells derived from fetal animals is not a new therapy and has been used for over 80 years to help people recover from all sorts of health problems including brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, dementia, cerebral palsy, ALS and more.

    More recent advances in this exciting field of medicine are indicating that using fetal precursor cells to treat Parkinson’s disease is safe with minimal side effects, and has the potential to improve this terrible disease.

    Umbilical cord stem cell therapy however has limited uses when it comes to this condition and I don’t believe is not of any significant use.

    Stem cells pros: there is no doubt in my opinion that when looking at stem cells pros and cons, the pros far outweigh the cons. When I say this however, I am referring to the use of fetal precursor cells taken from fetal animals and not embryonic human or adult human stem cells.

    Stem cells ethics: there is of course the stem cells ethical debate to consider as well. I believe that if human embryos are being used as the source of the cells, then yes there is a huge question mark over this procedure. However, I feel that when animal fetal precursor cells are used (which are more effective and more plentiful anyway), the stem cell research ethics or issues with this procedure are minimized and are inconsequential.

    It’s never too late to stop or reverse a serious condition like Parkinson’s and stem cell therapy just may be the ultimate solution and therapy for this and many other previously untreatable conditions.

    Tips on Alzheimer’s Prevention

    7 September, 2010 (23:59) | Mental Health | By: Health news

    Do you enjoy dancing or swimming? Thought about becoming one of the many “Baby Boomer Bikers” on bike paths everywhere? Most experts agree that these activities improve blood flow, helping to prevent both heart disease and dementia. How is your balance? Do you know that the portion of your brain that is responsible for balance also controls concentration? There is a reason that your balance declines at around the same time as memory issues arise. Yoga poses that improve balance can help keep your brain healthy too. Now that’s my kind of multi-tasking!

    The good news is that with only a few minutes each day, you can improve both memory and balance. Exercise promotes good blood flow to the brain and encourages growth of new brain cells, lowering the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and slowing cognitive decline in people who already have Alzheimer’s.

    According to studies done by Alzheimer’s Prevention and the Mayo Clinic, a variety of types of exercise is especially helpful to the brain. Their data also shows that up to 70 percent of people who have Alzheimer’s disease also have symptoms of depression. My mom’s disease progression included a phase of depression, so I have first hand knowledge of that one. Research shows that exercise can also improve depression, making it even more important to maintain a regular exercise routine as we age.

    A large, long-term study presented earlier this month at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease meeting in Honolulu found that people who perform moderate to heavy levels of exercise have a 40 percent lower risk of developing any type of dementia compared with people reporting the lowest level of exercise.

    I recommend adding these balance exercises either before or after your regular walking, biking or dancing routine:

    1. Stand with your back an inch away from a wall. Inhale as you lengthen your spine all the way up through your neck. Now find a spot in front of you that you can look at. Staring at this spot will help you to keep your balance. Exhale and lift your right foot off the floor, placing it against your calf or on top of your left foot. Try to balance on your left foot but lean back against the wall, if you need to. When you feel comfortable, you can also lift your arms up toward the sky like the branches of a tree (In yoga this is called tree pose). Continue breathing deeply in and out for one minute and then place your right foot back on the floor. Take a break, and then repeat with your left foot.

    2. Start out on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips – you look like a table. Spread your fingers wide to reduce the strain on your wrists. If you have wrist problems, you can place a rolled up hand towel under the palm of your hand with your fingers curled off the end of the roll and that will take some of the pressure off. Find a spot on the floor to stare at, inhale deeply and stretch your right leg and left arm out. Keep your toes close to the floor in case you feel like you need to touch the floor to help you balance. You can also do this exercise next to a wall so that you can touch the wall with your extended hand if need be until your balance is a little steadier. Breathe deeply for one minute. Return your right knee to the floor, take a couple of breaths and repeat with your left leg. Smile! You’re on the road to better health!

    ADHD Test

    7 July, 2010 (21:00) | Mental Health | By: Health news

    Children today are often deficient in key nutrients and minerals because of the easy availability of junk foods, instant meals, and processed foods. These foods are also known as “empty calories,” because they have very little or no nutritional benefit, yet they use up the body’s vitamin and mineral stores to convert them into energy. To make matters worse, children are also fond of eating dairy and wheat products, which contain complex proteins that irritate the intestinal lining and prevent it from performing its filtration function. When this occurs, the intestine fails to absorb and digest the nutrients and vitamins the body needs. Instead, toxins found in food get absorbed into the bloodstream and wreak havoc in the nervous system, aggravate nutritional deficiencies, and trigger the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    In order to determine if toxic substances and nutritional deficiencies are aggravating your child’s ADHD, health care practitioners perform a test called “nutrient element analysis.” Most essential nutrients and toxics are elements found in the periodic table of elements. Some of these elements are important to our health and well-being; for instance, calcium and magnesium are needed for bone development and neurotransmitter production. However, there are also elements like lead, mercury, and cadmium that are toxic. A healthy child usually has a balanced amount of nutritional elements and very low amounts of toxic elements. The aims of the nutrient element analysis are twofold: it detects any toxins present in the body, and it checks for deficiencies in essential nutrients and minerals.

    The nutrient element analysis works by obtaining a hair sample near the nape of the neck. Experts have discovered that hair provides the best specimen for analyzing the body’s nutrient content because, unlike blood and urine, hair can store elements and nutrients for a long time. Hair is nourished by the blood vessels in the roots, and the bloodstream is the only way nutrients and toxic elements can travel throughout the body. Through a process called keratinization, all the elements in the bloodstream bond with growing hair proteins when absorbed by hair follicles. Thus, the elements found in the hair are a very good representation of the elements found in the bloodstream and other body tissues.

    Besides relying on an accurate and effective sample for toxic element testing, hair analysis is also non-invasive and inexpensive. The only time a hair sample is not recommended is if the hair has been recently treated with hair dye, bleach, or perms. However, children are not likely to have treated hair, which makes nutrient element analysis an ideal testing instrument for children with ADHD.

    If your child experiences headaches, joint pain, and fatigue together with the symptoms of ADHD, your doctor will probably recommend a nutrient element analysis. The test can be ordered online and will require you to take a tablespoon-full of hair from your child’s nape. To avoid bald spots, take small amounts of hair from several places. Send the hair sample to the laboratory and wait 10 to 14 days for the results to come back. When you receive the results in the mail, ask a holistic health care practitioner to interpret them for you and formulate a comprehensive, all-natural treatment plan for your child’s ADHD.

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