health

created 2 years ago

Dr. X is a dad. Appropriately – boringly – at 4:37 p.m. on a national holiday, he is lighting a charcoal grill, about to grab a pair of tongs with one hand and a beer with the other
Somewhat less conventionally, two hours ago, he was escorting a woman around his yard, helping her walk off a large dose of MDMA.
This would be psychedelic-assisted therapy, the not-new but increasingly popular practice of administering psychotropic substances to treat a wide range of physical, psychological and psycho-spiritual concerns.
She'd been skeptical going in, but after it was over, Dr. X says, "She was so angry that it was illegal."
"I'm seeing that consciousness correlates to disease," he says. "Every disease." Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn's. Diabetes – one patient's psychedelic therapy preceded a 30 percent reduction in fasting blood-sugar levels.
www.rollingstone.com
We’ve all heard the “walk 10,000 steps a day to be healthy” pitch, but new research says that, while 10,000 is better than nothing, it might not quite be enough.
Unsurprisingly, those who sat most of the day had higher BMIs, larger waistlines, poor blood sugar control, and less than ideal cholesterol profiles when compared to those who moved around more. In fact, for every hour of sitting during the day beyond five hours, participants had a .2% increased likelihood of developing heart disease in their lifetime based on the researchers’ model.
Workers who walked 15,000 steps or more each day (which is roughly seven miles), or were standing upright for seven hours or more, had normal BMIs, average waistlines, and had no features of metabolic syndrome.
This research suggests that our current estimate of 10,000 steps per day may be too conservative, and that 15,000 steps is the mark we should be aiming for if we want to stave off life-threatening cardiac conditions.
Walk for 30 minutes before work, during lunch, and after dinner. Add a few, quick 10-minute walks throughout the day and you’re golden.
lifehacker.com
Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds.
Many labs have observed that these critical brain regions increase in activity when people perform difficult tasks, whether the effort is physical or mental. You can therefore help keep these regions thick and healthy through vigorous exercise and bouts of strenuous mental effort. My father-in-law, for example, swims every day and plays tournament bridge.
The road to superaging is difficult, though, because these brain regions have another intriguing property: When they increase in activity, you tend to feel pretty bad — tired, stymied, frustrated. Think about the last time you grappled with a math problem or pushed yourself to your physical limits. Hard work makes you feel bad in the moment. The Marine Corps has a motto that embodies this principle: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” That is, the discomfort of exertion means you’re building muscle and discipline. Superagers are like Marines: They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of intense effort.
This means that pleasant puzzles like Sudoku are not enough to provide the benefits of superaging. Neither are the popular diversions of various “brain game” websites. You must expend enough effort that you feel some “yuck.” Do it till it hurts, and then a bit more.
www.nytimes.com
"Cellulite is very difficult to treat, and it's an innate characteristic of being female," Ploch told Live Science. Although losing weight may make the bumpiness less visible, it probably won't remove all of the appearance, she said.
www.livescience.com
The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and promoted topiary as therapy. Nature appreciation—picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, for example—is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took. The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture: Japan’s Zen masters asked: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound?
To discover the answer, masters do nothing, and gain illumination. Forest bathing works similarly: Just be with trees. No hiking, no counting steps on a Fitbit. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.
From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results.
This is due to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood, plants, and some fruit and vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.
. “Forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments,”
Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.
“So much of our lives are spent interacting with 2D screens. This is such a bummer because there’s a whole 3D world out there! Forest bathing is a break from your phone and computer…from all that noise of social media and email.”
qz.com
Sleep is one of the strangest things we do each day. The average adult will spend 36 percent of his or her life asleep. For one-third of our time on earth, we transition from the vibrant, thoughtful, active organisms we are during the day and power down into a quiet state of hibernation.
The first purpose of sleep is restoration. Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. While this is completely normal, too much accumulation of these waste products has been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
During sleep, brain cells actually shrink by 60%, allowing the brain’s waste-removal system—called the glymphatic system—to essentially “take out the trash” more easily. The result? Your brain is restored during sleep, and you wake up refreshed and with a clear mind.
Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories.
when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. This can predispose you to fat gain and muscle loss.
The four-hour group performed worst, but the six-hour group didn’t fare much better.
Let me repeat that: if you get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, your mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight.
The irony of it all is that many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation so that we can work more, but the drop in performance ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours.
“Unless you’re doing work that doesn’t require much thought, you are trading time awake at the expense of performance.”
Generally speaking, experts agree that 95 percent of adults need to sleep 7 to 9 hours each night to function optimally. Most adults should be aiming for eight hours per night. Children, teenagers, and older adults typically need even more.
Working hard in the gym, at school, or at the office allows you to produce something of value. But even positive outputs are still outputs and they drain your energy accordingly.
Recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later.
During slow wave sleep the body relaxes, breathing becomes more regular, blood pressure falls, and the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, which makes it more difficult to wake up. This phase is critical for renewal and repair of the body. During slow wave sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers also believe that the body’s immune system is repaired during this stage. Slow wave sleep is particularly critical if you’re an athlete. You’ll often hear about professional athletes like Roger Federer or LeBron James sleeping 11 or 12 hours per night.
REM sleep is to the mind what slow wave sleep is to the body. The brain is relatively quiet during most sleep phases, but during REM your brain comes to life. REM sleep is when your brain dreams and re-organizes information. During this phase your brain clears out irrelevant information, boosts your memory by connecting the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, and facilitates learning and neural growth. Your body temperature rises, your blood pressure increases, and your heart rate speeds up. Despite all of this activity, your body hardly moves. Typically, the REM phase occurs in short bursts about 3 to 5 times per night.
To summarize: slow wave sleep helps you recover physically while REM sleep helps you recover mentally. The amount of time you spend in these phases tends to decrease with age, which means the quality of your sleep and your body’s ability to recover also decrease with age.
The circadian rhythm is a biological cycle of different processes that happen over a time span of about 24 hours.
The circadian rhythm is impacted by three main factors: light, time, and melatonin.
Light is probably the most significant pace setter of the circadian rhythm. Staring into a bright light for 30 minutes or so can often reset your circadian rhythm regardless of what time of day it is. More commonly, the rising of the sun and light striking your eyes triggers the transition to a new cycle.
This is the hormone that causes drowsiness and controls body temperature. Melatonin is produced in a predictable daily rhythm, increasing after dark and decreasing before dawn. Researchers believe that the melatonin production cycle helps keep the sleep-wake cycle on track.
Process 1 is sleep pressure. Basically, sleep pressure mounts from the moment you wake up, to the time when you go to sleep. While you’re sleeping, pressure decreases. If you get a full night of sleep, you start the next day with low sleep pressure.
Process 2 is wake drive, which counteracts sleep pressure and is controlled by a 24-hour rhythm that repeats in a wave-pattern.
For millions of years, humans and our ancestors have evolved to sleep at night (when it is dark) and wake during the day (when it is light). However, in the modern world, we work inside all day, often in areas that are darker than the outside world. And then, at night, we look at bright screens and televisions. Low light during the day, more light at night: It’s the opposite of naturally occurring cycles and it seems quite likely that it could mess up your wake rhythm and circadian rhythm.
“The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep,”
So how early do you need to be to bed to get enough of each type of sleep? Walker says there’s a window of several hours, about 8 p.m. to midnight.
When choosing your bedtime, try not to fight your physiology. The best bedtime will differ a little bit for everyone, but it’s crucial that you pay close attention to your internal clock and what your body is telling you. As long as you’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep, just focus on finding the time that works best for you.
Use relaxation techniques. Researchers believe that at least 50 percent of insomnia cases are emotion or stress related. Find outlets to reduce your stress and you’ll often find that better sleep comes as a result. Proven methods include daily journaling, deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and keeping a gratitude journal (write down something you are thankful for each day).
From a practical application standpoint, timing is perhaps the most important of the 3 levers of sleep. The intensity of your sleep is managed automatically by your body. The duration of your sleep is largely dependent on when you get into bed (assuming you wake up around the same time each morning). And that means getting to bed at an earlier, more consistent time is critical for improving the quality and duration of your sleep.
Fit middle-aged adults sleep significantly better than their overweight peers. One caveat: avoid exercising two to three hours before bedtime as the mental and physical stimulation can leave your nervous system feeling wired and make it difficult to calm down at night.
Most people sleep best in a cool room. The ideal range is usually between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).
A quiet space is key for good sleep. If peace and quiet is hard to come by, try controlling the bedroom noise by creating “white noise” with a fan.
jamesclear.com
in a long-term study of 3,635 people, they found that those that indulged in a bit of novel perusing – specifically, for more than 3.5 hours per week – live on average two years longer than non-readers. This appeared to be linked to cognitive enhancement rather than any other associated factor, including age, sex, education, race, health, wealth, marital status, and depressive tendencies.
“Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines,” the authors note in their study, concluding that “these findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.”
www.iflscience.com
To get the best benefit from this miraculous plant, you should either eat it or take cannabis oil. Smoking also alters the plant molecules; when cannabis is heated and burned, it changes the chemical structure and acidity of the THC, which in turn negates its therapeutic value. The smoke from marijuana is toxic to the body, just as the smoke from any other substance would be. Furthermore, anytime you burn something and inhale it, you create oxidation within the body.
That being said, there is not a great deal of evidence suggesting that smoking cannabis is harmful for your health either. In fact, smoking it does have some benefits, as it helps to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety, and offers pain relief as well. In the end, if you are going to smoke it, use a vaporizer like this instead.
www.anonews.co
The average age of Albertans receiving assisted death is 67. Most suffered from cancer, multiple sclerosis, or ALS. Another 23 people were denied physician-assisted death, according to the provincial numbers, because they didn't meet the criteria, which includes being mentally fit and having an irremediable illness in which death is imminent.
The legislation is also facing backlash from a number of quarters, from medical patients and civil liberties advocates who say the law is far too restrictive, to Catholic bishops who are now denying church funerals to anyone who dies with the help of a doctor.
You tell people in the most vulnerable time in their lives — people who are frail and who are suffering — that if you want to access your charter right, your human right to an assisted death ... then you're going to have to make a choice between relieving your suffering and everything you may have believed in,"
news.vice.com
A study now shows that cold and carbonated beverages actually quench thirst better. As the researchers put it: “Thirsty humans often prefer beverages that are both cold and carbonated including: mineral waters, seltzer, sodas, and beers.” That may seem obvious, but no one knew why until now. The study shows that it all comes down to the chill and the bubbles—and, yes, in case you were wondering, beer is considered to be naturally carbonated, thanks to the fermentation process.
Bottom line: Cold water reduced thirst more than room-temperature water did, and adding carbonation to a cold beverage made it even more thirst-quenching. Experiment variations to add astringency (as in tea), sweetness, and mild acidification had no effect. In the end, cold and carbonated won the game. A second experiment by the same researchers showed that using menthol to simulate a cooling sensation will also make people think their thirst is quenched faster than it is by a non-mentholated, room-temperature beverage.
munchies.vice.com
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