Social Support Lengthens Lives

Social support lengthens lives – But how? A recent study looks at how interventions directed at patients recovering from medical treatment or conditions can help improve outcomes, particularly by reducing overall mortality.  Numerous studies and clinical experiences have shown that social support, broadly understood, can have a substantial effect on survival rates and recovery times for patients in a variety …

Watching TV is Bad for Brain Health

Three studies have recently been concluded, each of which looks at the effect of television watching habits on brain health, specifically gradual reductions in the amount of gray matter found in the aging brain.  All three studies found that those who watched less television on average had less loss of brain volume in tests conducted after a period of several …

Sleep deprivation and weight gain

Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain

Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, but why is this? Is it just because sleep deprivation makes us grumpy and we “self-medicate” with food? People who get poor quality sleep, or not enough sleep, start craving high carbohydrate and high fat foods that are more likely to cause weight gain. And sleep deprivation makes us less likely to …

stigma in mental illness

Stigma in Mental Illness – Nancy

An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times this past week highlights unintended consequences of the ways in which we talk about mental illness and the strategies we use to reduce stigma around it. Dr. Lisa Pryor, a mental health care practitioner in Australia comments that increasing discussion, publicity and stigma reduction around “moderate” mental illnesses like anxiety and …

pregnancy and depression

Pregnancy and Depression

Bipolar Network News just published a set of articles on pregnancy and depression which are a useful update of the research in this important area. Other recent articles on moodsurfing about pregnancy include one by Nancy on apps for depression in pregnancy, an article summarizing a controversial study suggesting a link between antidepressants in pregnancy and autism, an article on the subject …

functional symptoms

Physical Symptoms without Physical Disease – Nancy

A new website designed for people experiencing physical symptoms that are not traceable to physical disease offers clear, scientific information, and also hope for those patients who sometimes spend years in the medical system trying to get relief for pain and other symptoms only to be told that nothing is wrong. The site refers to these symptoms as “functional symptoms.” …

Mindfulness and Illness

Newcomers to the practice of mindfulness meditation tend to imagine that mindfulness practice should ideally be associated with a state of calm happiness or relaxed bliss, so the idea of mindfulness as an approach to illness may seem odd or incongruous. It is worth going back a few years to Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s early work popularizing mindfulness in the United States. …

Purposeful Living Makes Us Stronger

Purposeful living makes us stronger – that is the conclusion of a study of people over the age of 50. We all know that physical health and mental health are closely connected, and changes in one can have tremendous effects on the other.  However, there is often a lack of empirical evidence to back up recommendations for a change in …

Increased Alcohol Use in US

Increased Alcohol Use in the US

A detailed and impressive study finds dramatically increased alcohol use disorders in the US in the past decade. Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, regular high-risk drinking increased by almost 30%, and the number of people meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder grew by 49.4%. What else do we know about the health of Americans in the past few years? We know …

Yoga Practice Five Reasons

5 Reasons to Start a Yoga Practice – Gina

Yoga can be an incredible tool in well-being and recovery, why not check out the five reasons to start a yoga practice below! 1. Stress Management Stress management is a huge factor in managing mood and well-being. Increases in stress can lead to disrupted sleep, weakened immune systems, and mood episodes. Yoga has shown to help people manage stress on …

Exercise Solutions

Exercise Solutions to Roadblocks

I was inspired to write this post on exercise solutions by a wonderful article in BP Hope that not only talks about reasons for making sure that you are exercising but also tries to overcome some of the barriers to making this change. You already know why Exercise is critical for brain health Exercise and physical activity is the most …

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. If that weren’t enough, it …

Happy Acts by Gina

The Happy Acts Challenge Did you know that giving can activate the reward centers of the brain? We think regularly about techniques to support us in managing our mood including exercise, eating healthy, regular sleep routine, etc. Is giving back or volunteering also on your list? If not, you should consider it. Researchers are finding that areas of the brain …

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 of moderate exercise four or …

Intermittent Fasting and Brain Health

Conventional wisdom, especially in the realm of diet and health, often turns out not to be right. Conventional wisdom (as it happens, heavily subsidized by grants from the Kellogg Foundation) has argued that “breakfast is the most important meal” and “fasting diets are unhealthy.” An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Casazza in 2013 suggested that the …