Category Archive: Health

May 01

Boost Creativity by Walking

Walking Increases Creativity

  “How can I get my creativity back?” One of my patients, who has been wrestling with depression for quite a while, asked me if I could think of anything that might help give her creativity a boost. My quick, off the cuff, reply was “go running again” (she was an avid runner before she …

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Apr 22

Move It

You have the potential to change your life. There is an almost magical system for activating hundreds of genes associated with better health and better brain function that you have access to. And it won’t cost you. I have written a lot about this amazing system, but this video does a better job than any …

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Apr 21

Exercise for Health

Exercise is essential to healthy life. It offers multiple rewards. It improves mood, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood cholesterol levels. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Regular physical activity helps develop and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. It relieves arthritis pain and keeps you younger than your years. …

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Jan 21

Facebook Friends May Save Your Life

Facebook friends may help you live longer. This is the surprising result of a recent study that received a lot of attention, and which some of you may have thought was a marketing ploy. However, the study was published in the prestigious journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is a summary of …

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Oct 31

4 Ways You Can Help a Loved One Cope with Addiction and Mental Illness

Mental illness and addiction co-occur more than some people may think. People with a mental illness are more likely to abuse substances while those with addictions are likely to either develop the symptoms of a mental illness or a full-blown mental illness. If there is someone in your life struggling with these two problems here …

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Sep 03

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine may help protect the body against stress and may improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. For the last month I have been examining some of the literature on this topic and working with some people in my practice to see if phosphatidylserine seems to be a useful natural supplement. The research literature on phosphatidylserine …

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Jul 03

Depression and Inflammation Interactions

There has been a lot of interest in the last year in the idea that information or activation of the body’s immune system, might be a cause and/or consequence of depression.  One theory argues that depression might be an inflammatory disorder, more than a disorder of altered neurotransmitter levels. Certainly there’s a fair amount of …

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May 04

Exercise Dose – Update

Exercise Dose Update

A couple of months ago a writer who we have collaborated with in this blog (Eric) wrote an article summarizing some of the research literature on the effective dose of exercise. He cited some studies suggesting that very high amounts of exercise may be hazardous and then came to the conclusion that about 30 minutes …

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Mar 11

TV Watching Leads to Impaired Cognition

How can we build up foundational, long-lasting healthy habits while young? We know it’s important—a perennial question, if not one we face day-to-day. By building those habits early on, we can set ourselves up for healthier living long-term, and place our children on a better track for a healthier, more positive adolescence and early adulthood. …

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Mar 09

Insomnia Causes the Munchies

Insomnia and the Munchies

In an article that appeared in the journal SLEEP in February, 2016, and which was summarized in a New York Times post entitled “Poor Sleep Gives You the Munchies,” researchers report that one way that poor sleep and insomnia may lead to weight gain is that insomnia increases activity of the endocannabinoid system in the …

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Feb 19

Aerobic Exercise Stimulates Neuron Growth

Aerobic Exercise and Neuron Growth

Moderate aerobic exercise appears to be the best form of exercise to stimulate neuron growth. One of the great challenges facing anyone who has wrestled with depression is how best to counteract the negative effects on brain development and cognitive function that have clearly been linked to recurrent depression. Depression leads directly to reductions in …

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Feb 11

Nature Advertisement

The family member of one of our patients sent me this link. It reminded me of the post about “awe” from a couple of months ago. Ever since that post I have been searching to add more awe to my life. It really has made a difference. Of course nature includes more than just one …

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Jan 22

Antidepressants in Pregnancy and Autism

Antidepressants in Pregnancy: Is Excess Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder Believable? Journal Watch Psychiatry editor, Allison Bryant, MD, MPH, reviewed a recent article on this topic Boukhris T et al. JAMA Pediatr 2015 Dec 14. In this study the risk for autism spectrum disorder appeared to be higher in those women who used antidepressants (especially SRIs) during late …

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Jan 19

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Pregnancy and mental health problems – how to reconcile the two – are often topics of discussion on this website and in my clinical practice. In the past we have often referred people to  Vivien K. Burt, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of the Women’s Life Center at UCLA and the …

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Jan 17

Body Mindfulness and Peak Performance

If mindfulness training works to achieve peak performance in Navy SEALs and top athletes perhaps it’s not such a New Age idea. In fact what distinguishes people who are resilient in the face of physical challenges may be a natural capacity for the kind of self-awareness that mindfulness teaches. A New York Times article called …

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Jan 13

Psychiatric Disorders Are A World Public Health Problem

Psychiatric Disorders World Public Health Problem

How can we start to better intervene with individuals facing psychiatric disorders in an effort to improve global health? Visibility is the key. When we consider the deleterious health effects of mental disorder on the actual—re physical—health of our bodies, our mind’s eye might be so often obstructed by the extremes—blocked by images of more …

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Dec 15

Exercise Dose

Exercise Dose

What is the right dose of exercise, how much before you hurt yourself, or stop seeing more benefits? You could be the AM riser, out jogging predawn in neon sneakers and sweatband, having just donned luminescent jacket or slicker. Maybe you’re the lunch hour weight lifter. Or perhaps you take the evening shift, the post-work …

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Dec 06

Awe Reduces Inflammation

Awe Reduces Inflammation

What if you knew that the experience of awe could measurably improve your health, would you approach the world differently today? At the most recent TEDMED, psychologist Jennifer Stellar presented evidence that the experience of a number of positive emotions (joy, pride, contentment and awe) was associated with reduced levels of interleukin – 6 (IL6) …

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Nov 21

Poor Health Predicts Bipolar Outcomes

poor health predicts bipolar outcomes

John has not been doing well. He used to be optimistic about all challenges and, although he had ups and downs, he managed to overcome these shifts in mood and maintain a focus on achieving his life goals. For the last year and a half he seems to be having difficulty focusing on those goals. …

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Nov 02

Can Junk Food Shrink Your Brain?

Did you know that increasing or even maintaining your intake of burgers, fries and soda pop—and pretty much any other hallmark of the “Western diet,” high in saturated fats and refined sugar—isn’t just an efficient way of rotting your teeth out and raising your risk of cancer, diabetes or heart disease, but that you may …

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