Thursday, July 27, 2006

Simplifying Can Be Complicated

According to experts, we're our own worst enemy. Our lives have become so busy that many are displaying symptoms of ADD. We get distracted, can't organize, or even focus. Are your replying to your emails after 10 p.m.? Should you be watching your children play soccer instead of checking your Blackberry? How are you supposed to take a relaxing walk if you bring your cell phone? If you don't have time for a walk, try meditating throughout the day to help clear your mind and help you relax. You can also try a few stretching exercises if your at a desk all day. And when you're being Supermom or dad, don't forget to set aside some time for yourself to do something relaxing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ADHD or Depression?

Experts who treat ADHD say it's often difficult to distinguish ADHD from clinical depression in girls, especially if there's no hyperactivity involved. Two other problems that exist are that it is estimated that ten to thirty percent of children with ADHD are also clinically depressed and there is no definite test to diagnose either condition. There are several ways to differentiate ADHD from depression so it's important to get a careful evaluation from someone that's familiar with both.
Symptoms of depression can include a loss of interest in activities, fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleep, weight gain or loss, feeling depressed for most of the day, and recurring suicidal thoughts. Primary symptoms of ADHD include inattention, disorganization, and impulsive behavior. Also, girls with ADHD can say why they are feeling depressed and girls with depression can't really give reasons why they feel that way. Finally, many with depression can remember when they felt better and were able to focus. Girls with ADHD are the opposite.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Magic Mushrooms for Depression?

An unusual study has shown that a compound, psilocybin, found in "magic mushrooms", can produce long lasting positive changes in a persons mood and behavior. Scientists say that this hallucinogenic chemical could be a possible new treatment for depression, anxiety and drug dependence. Those who took the chemical experienced what psychologist call "mystical experiences". Of the thirty six participants, one third described their experience as "spiritually significant". People experienced feelings similar to the importance of giving birth to their first child or the death of a parent. "Shrooms" come in several varieties and all contain psilocybin, which is now classified as a Class A drug such as heroin or cocaine. Research was led by doctors at Johns Hopkins in Maryland and all volunteers ere healthy, middle aged, and had no family history of psychotic illness. On two separate occasions, they received psilocybin and then a placebo, which was Ritalin. Medical professionals and the participants did not know when the test drug was being given. Sixty percent said they has a "full mystical experience". Two months later, seventy nine percent said they ad been experiencing a better quality of life. Their attitude, mood and behavior was better, which was confirmed by family and friends. Published in the Journal of Psycho pharmacology, the scientists said that great care was taken to minimize the side effects and warn people of the dangers of taking them unsupervised. Some adverse effects include anxiety, paranoia and vomiting, and can be risky for someone who has mental problems. Further research is intended for cancer related depression and anxiety and in the treatment of drug dependence.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ritalin For Preschoolers

A growing trend is prescribing Ritalin and other ADHD drugs to preschoolers despite the fact that Ritalin's manufacturer, Novartis, advises against the use to anyone under six years. Warnings have also been given by the FDA of suicidal thoughts and violent behavior associated with these medications. Experts believe that doctors need to be following the drug manufacturers guidelines saying that there is no data available or established for those under six who are taking it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

College Campus Secrets

The drive to succeed in college has many young adults illegally taking prescription ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall to help them stay awake.

For late night study sessions, many students take other people's prescription medications or they find a doctor that will prescribe it for them. Many lie and say they have ADHD symptoms just to obtain the pills for themselves or to sell the ADHD medication to others. What many students probably don't realize is that even though it may help them stay up late to finish a paper or do last minute studying, these pills can become addictive. Some counselors warn that there's not much difference between ADHD drugs and other drugs such as meth-amphetamine.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Meditation For Your Mental Health

Practicing meditation can be beneficial for physical and mental health as well. Diseases, such as cancer and AIDS or psychological conditions that are caused by stress and put a strain on daily life, can complicate symptoms and can make them harder to treat. Therefore, modern medicine has started to look for different methods of treatment. On a more spiritual level, meditation can bring beneficial effects to many who learn how to practice it. Here are a few examples of how and what it may help:
1). Stress Control. Stress we feel from everyday life can contribute to anxiety, hypertension, and heart disease. Studies have shown that hormones and biochemical compounds in the blood indicative of stress will decrease during meditation. Over time, these changes stabilize so that you are actually less stressed biochemically during your daily activity.
2). Pain Management. A vicious cycle can occur when chronic pain brings on anxiety. Those under stress have pain on more intense levels which causes further stress. Meditation can help break this cycle by helping people cope more effectively.
3). Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes fatigue and intense painful trigger points or areas along the body. One study of seventy seven men and women showed improvement after a ten week stress reduction program that used meditation. Half of which said their improvements were moderate or marked. So use some free time to improve your health, make life less stressful and easier to cope with by meditating.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mercury-Based Preservative

Continuous evidence is now pointing to Thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative in vaccines, as possibly being responsible for the increasing growth rate of autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and other neurological disorders. Today, many autistic children are found to be deficient in glutathione, an antioxidant generated in the brain that helps remove mercury from the body. Nearly a decade ago the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated the autism rate at 1 in 2,500. But today, the CDC says that rate is now an astonishing 1 in 166 or 1 in 80 boys. Also one in sic is now being diagnosed with a related neurological disorder. Prior to 1989, American infants generally received polio, measles-mumps-rubella, and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccinations. But in the early 1990's, public health officials increased the number by seven more shots that contained Thimerosal without considering how the mercury load would impact young developing brains. Warning were given that six month old children would suffer mercury exposure eighty seven times the government safety standards, but to no avail. In 2000, the CDC, pharmaceutical companies, and the FDA reviewed findings and were alarmed about the undeniable link between Thimerosal and the widespread brain damage in children. Since then, numerous animal studies have proven that Thimerosal is the culprit in America's epidemic of neurological disorders by being able to induce autism-like symptoms in mice. There has also been significant improvements in autistic children who have had mercury removed from their brain. Drug manufacturers who are wary of liability have reduced Thimerosal in most children's vaccines in recent years, but the preservative still remains in flu shots, tetanus boosters, and over the counter drugs. Stocks of the mercury laced vaccines were given to American children until the end of 2003.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Treating Disorders Early

Researchers believe that diagnosing and treating childhood disorders early plays a very important role in prevention down the road. Parents are encouraged to take their children to a doctor or have a disability screening if they see any signs of delays or other problems. They believe it's important that parents expose their children to books and reading, using and talking with appropriate words and playing games. Even simple things such as playing with cards or stacking dishes in the kitchen will help. Studies have shown that those who have trouble received little exposure to vocabulary. They also point out that preschool will help to develop language and social sills. Most problems seen today are learning disabilities, autism disorders, speech and language impairments and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But even a lack of breakfast or not having a regular bedtime can cause a lack of concentration and may be misdiagnosed as ADHD. Many feel that this diagnosis is overused. For example, if a child is hyperactive, but is learning in school, then it's not ADHD. Some behaviors may be a normal response to such things as a chaotic home life, parents separating and so on. Parents and teachers should look for signs such as not being able to focus for long on an activity that interests them. Some other symptoms could include tantrums, problems sleeping, and not following directions. Many feel that ADHD is preventable by having a structured home where children will know what will happen next. But if your home is already structured and only one child is having problems, then there might be other problems, like learning disabilities, that are involved. Some feel that before you take a child to the doctor for hyperactivity, you should take a parenting class to see if the problem is a home issue and not a learning issue first.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Message Away Depression and Anxiety

Therapeutic massage was developed in China about 2,500 years ago. Using their arms, hands, fingertips and elbows, massage therapists use pressure to help treat physical and emotional problems. Even in 400 B.C. Hippocrates used massage to treat sprains. Today, many cultures have developed their own versions. Recently, researchers from the University of Miami Studied thirty seven women who suffered from breast cancer. They found that those who received massage therapy or did progressive muscle relaxation for five weeks reported feeling less depressed and angry, and they had more energy. In another study at the University of South Florida, high blood pressure patients, who received ten minute massages three times a week for three weeks, lowered their points by eleven. Study reviews by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concluded that massage relieves depression ad anxiety by affecting the body's biochemistry. Measuring the stress hormone cortisol before and after massage found that levels were lowered by up to fifty three percent. They've also found that massage increases serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mood Food

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh say that by eating more omega-3 fats, you may be less impulsive, less depressed and easier to get along with. Measuring the blood levels of omega-3s of one hundred and six healthy adults and giving them psychological tests, they found that those with the highest levels scored forty nine to fifty eight percent better on the tests than those with the lower blood levels. Previous studies have linked omega-3s to lowering depression, but this study is the first to show the enhancing capabilities in healthy people. Researchers say that two servings a week of high omega-3 fish, such as salmon, sardines, herrings and mackerel will give you optimal benefits.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Late Onset of Depression

Research published in the current issue of Cognitive Therapy and Research shows that the late onset of depression, that usually begins at age sixty or over, is linked to a decline in the brains executive functions, leading to repetitive negative thought patterns. This report is based on a survey of forty four people who suffer from depressive symptoms, aged sixty six to ninety two years, and who live in a retirement community. Those with a late onset of depressive symptoms showed a poorer performance than those with an early onset of depression. Typical signs of executive decline can include rigid thinking, inattention, dis inhibition and a decline in memory. Also seen with executive decline was a tendency for some to have repeated negative thinking patters. And finally, executive decline was associated with those who had late onset depression and it led people to ruminate negative thought patterns. Researchers now believe that a longitudinal study will reveal whether executive decline causes rumination and late onset depression or if there's another underlying association.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

How ADHD Medications Work

Despite the fact that millions of children and adults are on medicine for ADHD, very few know exactly how these medications work in the brain. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are studying ADHD medications on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with making decisions, attention, and a person's personality. Because there's the concern of children becoming addicted to the current medications available, doctors must first find out exactly what these drugs do before different or better drugs are made. And despite these health concerns, doctors are still prescribing the medications because they help better than nothing at all. ADHD drugs are stimulants that increase two neurotransmitters in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. It is thought that dopamine plays a role in one's memory and addictive behaviors and norepinephrine plays a role in a person's attentiveness and arousal. Researchers feel that past studies showed little results due to the effects of the medicines that were given in high doses. This can cause dramatic increases in the neurotransmitters, which can make attention even more difficult and can cause a bigger risk of addiction. So the researchers studied the effects of lower doses on rats and found that their dopamine and norepinephrine levels increased in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Their research indicates that any new medicines developed would need to target this area. Studies are being planned for the future to see how ADHD medications act on the nerves that enhance cognitive ability.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Depression and Parkinson's

A recent European Survey found that eighty percent of those with Parkinson's, a degenerative, neurological disease, also experience depression. What was more surprising was that out of the five hundred people polled, forty percent rarely, if ever, discussed the problem with their doctor. The most well known symptom of Parkinson's is tremors in the arms and legs. But depression can either be an effect of this or a symptom of the disease itself. Researchers also spoke with five hundred specialists who said their patients often or sometimes experience depression. But forty nine percent of the specialists said that depression symptoms were often difficult to recognize. Many doctors said that they didn't discuss depression because they felt there were more pressing symptoms to deal with. But most patients agreed that depression was just as significant as having tremors and can make it very difficult to maintain a normal outlook on life.