Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Exercise & Depression, 3

Dr Samuel Harvey, lead author for the largest survey of its kind for any link between exercise and depression, said, “We’ve known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression. These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise, from a minimum of one hour per week, has the potential to deliver significant protection against depression. Dr. Harvey found it fascinating that the first hour of exercise turned out to be crucial. Most of the mental health benefits of exercise were realized within the first hour of exercise undertaken each week. The researchers concluded that just one hour of exercise a week reduced the chances of developing depression by a massive 44%.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Exercise & Depression, 2

In the largest survey of its kind, researchers monitored 33,908 “healthy” Norwegians for more than 11 years. The cohort of adults were selected on the basis of having no symptoms of common mental disorder or limiting physical health conditions. Validated measures of exercise, depression, anxiety, and a range of potential confounding and mediating factors were collected. The practice of regular leisure-time exercise was associated with a reduced incidence of future depression but not of anxiety. The majority of this protective effect occurred at low levels of exercise and was observed regardless of intensity. After adjustment for confounders, the population attributable fraction suggests that, assuming the relationship is causal, researchers estimated that 12% of future cases of depression could have been prevented by just one hour of exercise per week. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Exercise & Depression

Dr. Samuel Harvey is the lead author of a study that evaluated the impact of exercise on depression and anxiety. The results were reported this month on line. According to the study abstract, the purpose of this study was to address:

1)   whether exercise provides protection against new-onset depression and anxiety

2) if so, the intensity and amount of exercise required to gain protection

3) The mechanisms that underlie any association between exercise, depression, and anxiety.


In the largest survey of its kind, the anxiety and depression levels of 33,908 Norwegians were monitored for more than 11 years.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lectins, 2

Lectins may be harmful, at least for some people, if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly-cooked forms. Some think that the negative effects of lectins are due to gastrointestinal distress through interaction of the lectins with cells in the intestines. Symptoms of toxicity may include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and vomiting. Some have suggested that there are ways to reduce the toxicity of lectins. For example: soaking legumes and beans for a couple of hours in water with a little added lemon juice and then cooking them in a pressure cooker. Thinking back to my childhood, I recall that my mother always cooked legumes and beans in a pressure cooker. I think I’ll get one and try doing this myself. Can’t hurt!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lectins

Lectin is the name for a type of protein that is concentrated more in some foods than others. Foods with the highest lectin activity include: grains (especially wheat), legumes (especially soy), some nuts, dairy, and nightshades (e.g. eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc.). The frequent consumption of large amounts of lectins has been shown potentially to damage the lining of the digestive system. An article published in April of 2017 suggests that lectins can cause disease. Some lectins can actually move through the intestinal wall and even deposit themselves in distant organs. If you are interested more information can be found at this link.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rat Leptin Studies

Studies with rats have shown that Leptin resistance (in combination with insulin resistance and weight gain) is seen in rats after they are given unlimited access to palatable, energy-dense foods. This effect can be reversed when the rats are again fed a better diet and are not given unlimited access to the food. This suggests the value of human beings moving toward a balanced intake of foods that are unrefined along with appropriate portion control. Interestingly, this approach is what is mirrored in the Longevity Lifestyle Matters program. Studies in 2008 (led by Shapiro) and in 2010 (led by Oswal) suggest that that the main role of leptin is to act as a starvation signal when levels are low and to help maintain fat stores for survival, rather than a satiety signal to prevent overeating. Leptin levels signal when an animal has enough stored energy to spend it in pursuits besides acquiring food.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Leptin Sensitivity

In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin can occur. The consequences of this result in the person’s inability to detect satiety, even though there may be high energy stores. No surprise, any decline in the level of circulating leptin impacts brain activity in areas that involve the cognitive and/or emotional control of appetite. In 1996 a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine [334 (5): 292–5] reported that while leptin typically reduces appetite as a circulating signal, obese individuals generally exhibit a higher circulating concentration of leptin than normal weight individuals This is likely due to their higher percentage of body fat. In addition, they also ten to show leptin resistance similar to the insulin resistance seen in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the elevated levels of leptin fail to control hunger or modulate their weight.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Leptin vs Lectin

I know it can be confusing since there is only a one-letter difference between these two words. It’s worth paying attention to what they mean or represent, however. Leptin is an extremely vital and valuable hormone. When you hear the word Leptin, think “thin.” Really. Because it comes from a Greek word meaning thin. Made by fat cells, this substance—known as the “satiety hormone” is designed to put on the hunger brakes. Leptin is opposite—no surprise—from grehlin, its opposing hormone known as the “hunger hormone.” Both hormones can bind to receptors in the hypothalamus to regulate appetite: Grehlin pushes you to eat; leptin says that you have enough energy and need no more food. More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brain and Hugs, 2

Sheldon Cohen, who led the study on hugging at Carnegie Mellon University, said that the research” suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress. The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection." “But I live alone and there’s no one to hug,” some say. That may be a challenge although just because you live with someone doesn’t guarantee a good hug. There are families that live together but fail to hug each other. Fortunately, I have a few relatives and a couple close friends who are skilled huggers—it’s both an art and a science and may be the ultimate “being rather than doing” affirmation. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Brain and Hugs

Research at Carnegie Mellon University studying the impact of conflict and social support—including hugging by trusted persons. Lead researcher Sheldon Cohen and associates assessed 404 healthy individuals including the frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs. The 404 participants were then exposed to a cold virus and quarantined to assess for infection and symptoms of illness. They found?

  • Perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support

  • Among participants who became infected, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced conflicts 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are You A ‘Hugger?’

"Are you a “hugger?” Did you come from a family of “huggers?” Growing up I hugged my pets (the ones that were huggable – it’s a tad difficult to hug a snail or a box turtle or even a parakeet!) I sometimes hugged close friends (but not always as hugging was never a measure of how much I cared about and valued a specific individual). It’s commonly understood that ongoing stressors such as conflict with others can reduce immune system function and increase the risk of infection. And the brain and immune system have their hands in each other's pockets, so to speak. Recently research by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University looked at conflict and social support—including hugging by trusted persons—and its association with risk of infection and with severity of illness symptoms. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tell Your Brain to Sleep

“Don’t Sleep Well!” I hear this from people all over the world! My first response is “Stop telling your brain anything that you do not wish to be true.” When you say ‘I don’t sleep well,’ a representation of what they means goes into working memory, located directly behind your forehead. Your brain perceives that ‘if you put it into working memory it must be information to you,’ and the brain does everything it can to help you achieve that goal. In this case, not sleeping well. Therefore, knowing that sleep is independently linked with longevity and that your brain appears to be cleared of toxins during sleep, change what you tell your brain. It can only do what it thinks it can do and you tell it what it can do through your thoughts, self-talk, and directions to your brain. I perceive of my brain as a connected although separate entity so I talk to my brain using the pronoun you. Most nights I tell my brain: “Arlene, you are falling asleep quickly and easily and waking up at ____________ am.” And in most cases that’s exactly what happens.