Magnesium—the Missing Link to Better Health

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Story at-a-glance

An estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. The health consequences of deficiency can be quite significant, and can be aggravated by many, if not most, drug treatments Continue reading

Top-Selling Antidepressants Double your Bone Fracture Risk

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Pharmaceutical antidepressants are usually among a class of varied chemicals known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is the feel good central nervous system neurotransmitter that is produced in the body.

The phrase re-uptake inhibitor is confusing to most of us laypersons. Why does inhibiting a feel good chemical make someone feel less depressed?

The SSRIs purportedly modulate and redistribute serotonin, keeping it from being taken in by some neuron receptors and Continue reading

Positive Longevity

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There is longevity in positivity.

Be positive… for your good health and for the health of those around you.

According to an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitled “Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study: by Danner, Snowdon and Friesen”, Continue reading

How You Can Shed Pounds in Bed

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A new health breakthrough highlights one aspect of any diet plan. If you are out to shed pounds and get more fit, don’t forget one crucial detail that takes up several hours of your day: sleep.

We all know why sleep is so important. The body recharges. It runs certain systems and functions at night, repairs damage from the day, Continue reading

Six Safe, Natural Solutions for Getting Rid of Migraine Headache Pain

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Migraine sufferers are often anxious to rid themselves of the terrible pain characterizing this condition. Health-conscious individuals choose natural treatments to avoid drug side effects. Many migraine sufferers don’t realize the effects certain foods and chemicals may have on their systems, contributing to the development of migraines, or to their resolution. Diet, herbs Continue reading

The Hidden Key to Optimal Brain Performance

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Story at-a-glance Continue reading

Beating Depression with Natural Methods

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Many folks treat their depression with psychotherapy or prescription antidepressant drugs. And though many experts think a combination of these two are effective, no scientific evidence supports this supposition. In reality, simple, natural measures like more sleep, exercise and efforts at sustaining a positive attitude work better to combat depression than medication. Continue reading

Simple Tips for Getting To Sleep and Staying Asleep

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You know the drill. The blaring alarm jars you from your few minutes of sweet slumber after you’ve been tossing and turning much of the night. You’ve already hit the snooze button twice. The clock’s display: 6:21 a.m. You know if you don’t get up right this minute, you’ll be late again. But you’re still tired.

You hesitantly peel yourself from that warmly embracing mattress. You hardly feel excited about the long day ahead, full of responsibilities and deadlines. But that’s morning and that’s life. Isn’t this how everyone feels?

It is the way many of us feel because we’re not getting enough quality sleep.

Overall Health

A lack of good sleep plays an important role in our overall health and the aging of our bodies. Increasingly, many scientific studies show associations between lack of sleep and health problems: Continue reading

Study Finds Anxiety Begins in your Gut and not Head

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We’re all familiar with the term “gut feeling”. As it turns out, the term may be more apt than we realize. In recent years, research has increasingly identified the role the gut can have on mood and behavior, leading many scientists to refer to the gut as the “second brain”. Now, for the first time, researchers have found conclusive evidence that conditions such as anxiety can originate in the gut instead of the brain.

In a study just published in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers at McMaster University found that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behavior. The research is important because several common types of gastrointestinal disease are frequently associated with anxiety or depression. In addition there has been speculation that some psychiatric disorders Continue reading

Gene Linked to Major Depression Identified

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WASHINGTON – A gene that influences how the brain responds to stress may also play a key role in depression, according to a new study.

Numerous studies have shown that the brain molecule neuropeptide Y (NPY) helps to restore calm after stressful events.

However, a team of University of Michigan-led researchers has found that people whose genes predispose them to produce lower levels of NPY have a more intense negative emotional response to stress and may be more likely to develop a major depressive disorder.

They now hope the research will eventually help with early diagnosis and intervention for depression and other psychiatric illnesses, and could help lead the way toward developing more individualized therapies.

“We’ve identified a biomarker – in this case genetic variation – that is linked with increased risk of major depression,” said the study’s senior author Jon-Kar Zubieta, a professor of psychiatry and radiology and research professor at the Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute.

“This appears to be another mechanism, independent of previous targets in depression research, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine,” he added.

The study found that people who produce lower amounts of NPY had measurably stronger brain responses to negative stimuli and psychological responses to physical pain.

They were also over-represented in a population diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.

The researchers used three different approaches, each with a varying number of research subjects ranging from 58 to 152, to study the link between NPY gene expression and emotional processing.

First, they classified subject participants into three categories according to low, medium or high NPY expression.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they then observed the brain activity as the subjects viewed different words – some neutral (such as ‘material’) negative (like ‘murderer’), and positive words (like ‘hopeful’).

In response to negative words, subjects in the low NPY group showed strong activation in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved with processing emotion, while subjects with high NPY demonstrated a much smaller response.

In the second trial, researchers looked at how subjects described their emotional state before and after a stress challenge in which saline solution was injected into their jaw muscles, causing moderate pain for about 20 minutes.

Those in the low NPY group were more negative both before and after the pain – meaning they were more emotionally affected while anticipating the pain and while reflecting on their experience immediately afterward.

Finally, the researchers compared the NPY genotypes of subjects with major depressive disorders with control subjects and found that people with low NPY were ‘over-represented’ in the group with depression.

“These are genetic features that can be measured in any person. We hope they can guide us toward assessing an individual’s risk for developing depression and anxiety,” said lead author Brian Mickey, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The findings are published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.