New study to understanding the science of sleep

New study to understanding the science of sleep

Researchers using virtual reality to improve health Scientists have been testing virtual reality or VR to treat movement problems caused by a stroke, brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease. The National Institutes of Health is funding research to find where VR may help in medicine such as rehabilitation exercises, improving mental health, and reducing pain. Dr. Amy Bastian, a movement specialist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, is using VR for adults who have damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates movement. When the eyes can see the body, the damaged cerebellum tries to take over, but putting people into a VR scene where their bodies don’t exist helps other parts of the brain to learn how to coordinate movements instead. This instant feedback for a successful movement is vital for the brain to forge new learning pathways, Bastian explains. “In VR, we can manipulate the environment in real time to help them learn to use another brain system.” Dr. Andrew Huberman, a VR researcher at Stanford University, is testing techniques to help people cope with fear and anxiety. “Vision, more than any other sense, is the sense that humans use to navigate the world and survive," explains Huberman. "And, more than any other sense, it drives phobias and anxiety.” A unique advantage of VR, Huberman explains, is that researchers can directly measure signs of anxiety including changes in eye movements and pupil size. Dr. Sam Sharar, a pain expert at the University of Washington, uses VR to distract children and adults who are recovering from burns. “People have a fixed amount of conscious attention,” he says. “If you divert some of that from experiencing a painful procedure to another task, the brain experiences less pain. This happens even though the same pain signal is coming through […]

Guilty about that afternoon nap? Don’t be. It’s good for you.

Guilty about that afternoon nap? Don’t be. It’s good for you.

You may be familiar with that feeling of overwhelming sleepiness during the mid-afternoon. It’s common, occurs whether you’ve eaten lunch or not, and is caused by a natural dip in alertness from about 1 to 3pm. So, if you find yourself fighting off sleep in the middle of the day and you’re somewhere where you can have a nap, then do it. Taking the time for a brief nap will relieve the sleepiness almost immediately and improve alertness for several hours after waking. And there are many other benefits too. Understanding why we nap People nap for lots of reasons, some which are: to catch up on lost sleep in anticipation of sleep loss to avoid feeling sleepy later on for enjoyment, boredom or to pass time. Napping is relatively common. In fact, about 50% of us report taking a nap at least once per week. Napping rates are greater in countries like Greece, Brazil and Mexico that have a culture of siesta , which incorporate “quiet time” in the early afternoon for people to go home for a nap. In such countries, up to 72% of people will nap as often as four times per week. The perks of napping Naps are not only beneficial because they make us feel less sleepy and more alert, but because they improve our cognitive functioning , reaction times, short-term memory and even our mood. Our research (not yet published) has found those who regularly nap report feeling more alert after a brief nap in the afternoon when compared to those who only nap occasionally. Another research group found that motor learning, which is where brain pathways change in response to learning a new skill, was significantly greater following a brief afternoon nap for regular nappers when compared to non-nappers. In fact, […]

The fall of the economists’ empire

The fall of the economists’ empire

The West still views itself as the bearer of universal civilisation, with the non-West no more than a lagging cultural indicator. But, ironically, the triumph of Western universalism has come just when Western power is collapsing. The historian Norman Stone, who died in June 2019, always insisted that history students learn foreign languages. Language gives access to a people’s culture, and culture to its history. Its history tells us how it sees itself and others. Knowledge of languages should thus be an essential component of a historian’s technical equipment. It is the key to understanding the past and future of international relations. But this belief in the fundamental importance of knowing particular languages has faded, even among historians. All social sciences, to a greater or lesser degree, start with a yearning for a universal language, into which they can fit such particulars as suit their view of things. Their model of knowledge thus aspires to the precision and generality of the natural sciences. Once we understand human behaviour in terms of some universal and – crucially – ahistorical principle, we can aspire to control (and of course improve) it. No social science has succumbed to this temptation more than economics. Its favoured universal language is mathematics. Its models of human behaviour are built not on close observation, but on hypotheses that, if not quite plucked from the air, are unconsciously plucked from economists’ intellectual and political environments. These then form the premises of logical reasoning of the type, “All sheep are white, therefore the next sheep I meet will be white.” In economics: “All humans are rational utility maximisers. Therefore, in any situation, they will act in such a way as to maximise their utility.” This method gives economics a unique predictive power, especially as the utilities can all […]

9 Amazing Health Benefits of Eggplants

9 Amazing Health Benefits of Eggplants

Healthy Food Eggplants, also known as aubergines, have a unique range of health benefits. Follow along to learn more about this glossy purple fruit. Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock Promote weight loss Eggplants are high in fibre and low in calories, making them the perfect addition to any weight loss plan. Bonus: Eggplants are super versatile! You can bake them into a scrumptious eggplant Parm, mash them into a baba ghanoush or twirl them into rollatini—the possibilities are endless. Improve memory Eggplant skin isn’t just pretty and purple, it’s covered with a powerful antioxidant called nasunin that protects brain cell membranes and assists in the transport of nutrients and the removal of waste. What’s more? Nasunin has also been proven to prevent neuroinflammation and increase blood flow—which could help improve memory. These everyday habits can help boost your memory . StockImageFactory.com/Shutterstock Build strong bones Tired of milk? Throw an eggplant in the juicer! The natural plant compounds in this wondrous fruit have been proven to reduce osteoporosis , promote stronger bones and increase bone density. Eggplants are also packed with iron and calcium—two very important minerals for bone health. istetiana/Shutterstock Chudovska/Shutterstock Nataliya Arzamasova/Shutterstock denira/Shutterstock

CBD For Anxiety: What You Should Know

CBD For Anxiety: What You Should Know

All of us have experienced anxiety over certain situations in life. It’s a perfectly normal and healthy reaction and a part of our mind’s coping mechanism to stressful or adverse situations. It’s the time when this emotion stops being useful, becomes limiting to your personal development and becomes debilitating that anxiety can be considered a disorder. Anxiety disorder has become a prevalent mental health or neurodevelopmental disorder around the world, that a 2017 statistics from the World Health Organization put the estimated number of anxiety disorder sufferers across the globe at a whopping 284 million people. Another cause of concern is that the United States has at least 40 million people suffering from this condition. That said, there is a pressing need for a long-term and effective solution in treating anxiety disorder. One of the most common traditional treatments for anxiety is use of anxiolytics or medications for anxiety. However, anxiolytics can have numerous unpleasant side effects just like any other psychiatric medications. On that note, health care professionals and anxiety sufferers alike were looking for a natural and effective alternative for treating anxiety, which led them to the compound called cannabidiol or CBD. Before deciding on switching to this option, there should be important information that you need to know about CBD as anxiety treatment. CBD Has a Calming Effect on The Central Nervous System CBD is known to positively react to the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex set of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. It is also known that the ECS plays a role in managing anxiety and fear memory processing. CBD has a positive and calming reaction with ECS, which then regulates the receptor signaling […]

The One Ingredient That’s Been Missing From Your Protein Powder

The One Ingredient That’s Been Missing From Your Protein Powder

Just after lemon water and leafy greens, chocolate protein powder may be the most valuable player in our daily routines. Lately, we’ve been trying one with a collagen peptide base and it’s made all the difference. If you’re still a bit mystified about the balance between clean eating and actually enjoying your life, a good chocolate collagen protein powder may be exactly the life hack you need. Over the years, we’ve noticed that – whether it’s our own readers or the wellness pros we feature – the list of pantry staples most women rely on to eat well, feel great, and avoid cravings is remarkably small. While what constitutes a “healthy diet” varies wildly from person to person, there are a few key products we find work well for most. One of them is this clean chocolate protein from Further Food’s with a collagen peptide-base. Further Food’s new Chocolate Collagen Peptides Protein Powder has been our top pick lately when it comes to smoothies, superfood lattes and all the other things we toss a good protein powder into. Since collagen has been getting so much buzz as a beauty ingredient, it may be easy to forget that collagen is actually an exceptional source of protein. Further Food’s new product contains some of best-source collagen we’ve found, made with grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen peptides and 100% real food ingredients: no gums, flavorings, processed sugar, stevia, or ingredients you can’t pronounce. We keep a good chocolate protein powder on hand at all times for sustainable health habits that aren’t easily thwarted by the slew of junk food options around us at all times. Simply add chocolate protein powder to almond milk, a smoothie, or a latte while on the go, and you’ve got instant nourishment that’ll keep blood sugar stable, satiate your […]

The wonderful world of woof can be beneficial to your health: Dr. Nina

The wonderful world of woof can be beneficial to your health: Dr. Nina

Pet owners know how much that furry face, those precious eyes and heart-warming charms improve their health and overall well-being. In fact, it has been said a pet is one of the only gifts that can mend a crack in a heart. The field of human-animal bond research is dedicated to studying the health benefits of pets and human-animal interaction. I am a passionate advocate of the human-animal bond. Living with an animal, or even just visiting them, has great health benefits, including improvements in mental, social, emotional and physical health. That’s not based on anecdotes — mounds of studies have validated this truth. The invisible ties that bind you to your pets or time visiting with animals can have a dramatic impact on your life and your health. Animals have a proven track record as healing agents. In the last decade there has been an increase in the study of the human-animal bond demonstrating that time with your pets or visiting with animals has great health benefits — whether at home, work, or in service. • Pet Owners. Keeping a pet improves your overall health and well-being. People of all ages, both healthy and ill, benefit from living with an animal. Pets do more than being good company. They have been shown to decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills. One compelling study reported pet-owners make fewer visits to their doctors for ailments and are less likely to be on medication for heart problems and sleeping difficulties. • Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a growing field. AAT is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, pigs and birds to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy. Animal-assisted therapy can reduce pain, anxiety, fatigue and depression in […]

How Pollution Affects Kids: Development Delay, Stunted Growth

How Pollution Affects Kids: Development Delay, Stunted Growth

If you thought that the primary effect of the pollution your children are exposed to only causes them to fall ill, with respiratory ailments, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Apart from respiratory ailments, autoimmune diseases, affecting moods, and more, perhaps the scariest manifestation is how extreme pollution can stunt growth and affect the brain development of children. An interesting study done by researchers at IIT Delhi found that the highest decline in height amongst children is of those born between November and January, the months when the pollution levels peak. The researchers surveyed over 200,000 children between February 2010 to December 2015 to arrive at this conclusion. The research published in the journal, Environmental Health, concluded that newborn babies as well as fetuses of women in their third trimester are more likely to be shorter for their age, or be stunted later in life if the mother had been exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy. Says Dr. Megha Consul , Principal Consultant, Pediatrics, Max Gurgaon, “A child’s future is pinned on the first 1000 days of development when brain growth is most rapid. Any damage during this critical period can cause long-lasting effects on their health and well-being. Early childhood is also a critical period for the continued development and maturation of several biological systems such as the brain, lung, and immune system and air toxins can impair lung function and neurodevelopment, or exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma. Infants who were born premature or growth-retarded may be particularly vulnerable to additional environmental insults, for example, due to the immaturity of the lungs at birth.” Air pollution in pregnant mothers can affect the growth of child in-utero and lead to intrauterine growth retardation and stunting. In countries like India where air pollution is higher, […]

Pets may help older adults manage chronic pain

Pets may help older adults manage chronic pain

People with pets may be able to use their companion animals to practice techniques for managing chronic pain without medication, researchers say. In focus group interviews, pet owners over age 70 with chronic pain said their pets brought them joy and laughter, helped them relax, kept them active, and promoted other good habits that can also be marshaled to manage pain, the study team writes in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. “In part because of the opioid crisis, there is more interest than ever in how people can use cognitive and behavioral strategies to manage common chronic pain conditions with less reliance on medication,” said study leader Mary Janevic, an associate research scientist at the School of Public Health of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This self-management “toolbox” includes relaxation techniques, physical activity, interaction with pets, and a problem-solving approach to minimize pain’s interference with life, she said. “This is especially important in older adults, who often experience more harmful side-effects from medication than younger people do,” Janevic told Reuters Health by email. The study team conducted focus groups with 25 dog and cat owners who had experienced persistent pain at least half of their days during the prior six months. The owners lived full-time with their pet and interacted four or more times per day through petting, talking to, playing with, walking with, sitting with, feeding or grooming their pet. The owners described how their pets affect their daily routines and health, including pain, fatigue and barriers to pet care. The research team analyzed the transcripts for themes and categories matching the types of techniques used in pain management: mood management, relaxation, distraction, physical activity, behavioral changes, social interaction and sleep. Overall, pet owners reported that their animals increased positive feelings, had a soothing presence, encouraged […]

Be Well: Float Horizen

Be Well: Float Horizen

The July issue of Nashville Lifestyles featured our all-inclusive guide to relaxation and rejuvenation. Each day we’ll be sharing one of our favorite wellness practices and procedures with you. Supplied Relax, recharge, recalibrate. That’s the promise of Float Horizen , a float spa in East Nashville’s Five Points. Its private rooms contain individual tanks, each filled with 12 inches of Epsom salt-saturated water heated to skin temperature, thus effortlessly supporting the body. Moreover, in darkness, in silence. So much of my day is spent in the barrage of the physical world, connected to devices that stream a steady and often stressful diet of information. What would it feel like to unplug for an hour, immerse myself in a warm buoyant bath, and surrender to the stillness of the moment? Float Horizen founder and native Nashvillian Zane Ritter is ready to guide me. Ritter became entranced with the therapeutic benefits of floating while he was a student of biology and psychology at UT Chattanooga. “In my neuroscience classes, I came across research that showed a correlation between healing of traumatic brain injuries and floating,” he says. “It was called sensory deprivation. In that quiet environment, the brain can rest and heal.” Further exploration led Ritter to a float conference in Portland, Oregon. This exposed him to a diverse wellness community: athletes using floating to speed recovery from injuries, business people as a means of de-stressing, artists to increase receptivity to the creative flow. He also attended a comprehensive seminar on how to start your own float spa. In December 2017, with his family’s backing, Ritter opened Float Horizen. Supplied He gives me a tour of the facility. The Dream Room has a state-of-the-art pod with hydraulic door, modern yet womblike. The Wave Rooms are more expansive—you don’t have the sense […]