The Health Benefits of Laughter

The Health Benefits of Laughter

By: Robert Agthe

For as long as I can remember, everyone has always said that laughter is the best medicine. Why is this? And does the power of laughter really have any medical benefits?

Fact or Fiction Does Laughter really have Health Benefits?

The benefits of laughter are always talked about, but did you know that there can be health complications from laughter as well? According to research here is a list of the benefits as well as the complications.

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Releases endorphins that make you feel good
  • It’s good for you
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases immune system
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Burns calories

Health Complications:

  • Puts increased pressure on the thorax, interfering with breathing
  • Cardiac arrest could occur (Heart in distress)
  • Cerebrovascular accidents (Stroke)
  • Myocardial infarctions (Heart attack)

According to research conducted laughter can be a very powerful thing. It can help doctors and nurses bond with their patients. It can increase your heart rate and help boost your mood. It can help with managing pain and burning calories. It also releases endorphins to your brain which in turn makes you feel “happy.” It also has the power to help reduce stress.

Research has however stated that laughter can also be dangerous as well, especially in older adults with preexisting health issues. Laughter can cause increased health complications and possible death. Decreased oxygen to the brain, a stroke and a heart attack can all be induced from laughter, especially in older adults.

But because everyone is different and no two people laugh the exact same way, it is hard to really measure the actual health benefits and complications of laughter. We know what it, “can do” but what it, “actually does,” and, “how much,” is impossible to measure. For example, Sally might burn 10 calories from laughing, while Henry burns 25 calories. We know it burns calories, but “how much” is different person to person. More research needs to be conducted to find out how to measure the actual benefits of laughter as well as the complications. If this process can even be done, it would be interesting to see what exactly the power of laughter can really do.

Without a doubt, when you are happy and laughing, you feel better. This point is at least indisputable, and usually people that are happier, are healthier. Can laughter be used as a form of medicine? No, probably not, but it will at least make you smile and feel good for a little while. And I think there’s medicine in that. So keep smiling and laugh on!

 

References

Berk, R. A. (2001). THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN HUMOR: PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS AND RISKS   FOR OLDER ADULTS. Educational Gerontology27(3/4), 323-339. doi:10.1080/036012701750195021

Martin, R. (2002). Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Humor, Laughter, and Physical Health. Current Directions In Psychological Science11(6), 216-220.

Bennett, H. J. (2003). Humor in Medicine. Southern Medical Journal96(12), 1257-1261.

Childhood Obesity… Still on the Rise

36562746-childhood-obesity-word-cloud-concept

In the United States from 2011 to 2012, 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2 through 19 years were obese and 31.8% were either overweight or obese (Peek, 2016). These numbers are still rising and will continue to do so unless preventative measures are taken. Obesity that starts in childhood, can continue through adulthood leading to an increased risk of later developing health conditions such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

What are the leading factors?

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Physical activity
  • Diet
  • Behaviors

Image result for childhood obesity

What are the risks?

Eating a poor diet during childhood can negatively affect growth and development during a vital time. With children spending such a significant amount of time in school, the food being provided can impact childhood obesity. A child with an obese parent is more at risk of becoming overweight. Having an inactive lifestyle such as watching over two hours of TV a day can also increase the risks. The behaviors that we have as children can continue to adulthood, making them harder to change.

What can be done?

  • Limiting the consumption of sugar
  • Consuming a balanced diet
  • Limiting television and screen time
  • Eating breakfast daily
  • Limiting dining out, especially at fast food establishments
  • Encouraging family meals
  • Limiting portion size

Prevention does not only need to happen at home. Families, doctors, schools, and communities should all get involved. By working together, we can all make a difference.

References

Emmett, P. M., & Jones, L. R. (2015). Diet, growth, and obesity development throughout childhood in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Nutrition Reviews, 73175-206. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv054

Peek, L. A. (2016). Interventions in childhood obesity. Clinical Advisor, 19(11), 30-45

Schanzenbach, D. W. (2009). Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?. Journal Of Human Resources, 44(3), 684-709

 

 

Sensory Processing Unlocked! A key to understanding Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

The reactive behavior of an individual affected by sensory processing disorder (SPD) can be very puzzling to an outside observer. However, a simple explanation of sensory processing can change the perception of behaviors so they no longer seem out of place. 

What is sensory processing? Sensory processing is the brain’s organization of sensory messages from inside oneself as well as through interaction with the environment. These include messages from the well-known senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight; in addition to less known, but equally important, senses of movement, balance, and body awareness (Wheble & Hong, 2006).

Why is sensory processing important? Meaningful interactions within the environment are essential for successful functioning in everyday activities.

What is sensory processing disorder? Sensory processing disorder (SPD) refer to the inability of the brain to effectively process sensory information. An individual may have difficulty recognizing the presence of sensory information, or in contrast have difficulty ignoring the presence of sensory information (Sweet, 2010, p.2).

Margarita Sweet is an Occupational Therapist who works with children with sensory processing dysfunction also known as sensory processing disorder (SPD) or sensory integration dysfunction. She described the effects of SPD on a child’s ability to function during everyday activities, such as focusing in school or playing on the playground (Sweet, 2010, p.2).

For example: 

Children appear comfortable as they actively participate in classroom lesson, an example of successful sensory integration.
Children appear comfortable and alert as they actively participate in a classroom lesson; an example of successful sensory integration. By: US Embassy Canada

Classroom success relies on integration of important sensory information  such as the sound of the teacher’s voice and the visual information the teacher posts on walls or boards. In contrast, extraneous, possibly distracting sensory information include the feeling of hard, cold seats and desks, the sounds of fidgety peers and hums of fluorescent lights, and colorful, cluttered classroom walls and bookshelves. For a child with SPD, they may feel so uncomfortable or distracted by their inability to ignore extraneous sensory information that they are unable to participate and meet typical classroom expectations.

What does sensory processing feel like? 

Hear the Point of View of a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder 

 

In the above video, a boy with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) describes experiencing difficulties during many daily activities such as:

  • Difficulty responding to loud and unexpected noises
  • Feeling uncomfortable in clothing because of tags, seams, buttons, or textures.
  • Difficulty making eye contact and interacting with peers
  • Difficulty tolerating transitions between activities, especially if unexpected

 

How can occupational therapy help?

Watch an Occupational Therapist Treat a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

In the above video, the occupational therapist demonstrated several techniques for treating symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD. She described:

  • Differences between calming, alerting, and organizing sensory information
  • The use of movement, deep touch, and deep pressure to promote effective sensory integration
  • The unique role of occupational therapy in addressing a child’s specific sensory needs

Occupational therapists often use sensory integration strategies to increase a child’s ability to regulate their responses to environmental stimuli. Sensory integration treatments have been shown to have measurable positive outcomes in the areas of nighttime routines and sleeping, tactile discrimination (ability to identify and understand the environment through the sense of touch), self-dressing skills, participation in safe play, and planning and coordination with coloring activities. (Schaaf, Hunt, & Benevides, 2012).

Watch a reporter from Wall Street Journal describe treating children for Sensory Processing Disorder 

In the above video, the Wall Street reporter describes that:

  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is not classified as a medical diagnosis, and therefore treatment may be not be covered by insurance reimbursed differently by insurance
  • Symptoms of SPD are usually recognized between the ages of 2 and 7
  • Children with SPD are commonly also affected by disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • SPD can affect all of the senses differently
  • Occupational therapy services treat children with SPD through play based games and activities

 

Where to look for more detailed information? Popular media can be used to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of sensory processing and sensory processing disorder (SPD).  A comprehensive literature review revealed a high rate of accuracy and reliability in non-professional literature on SPD. For the most part, uniformity in terminology was high and popular media clips offered a unique and beneficial opportunity to visualize reliable information. However, it should be noted that there is a need for more evidence that scientifically supports the efficacy of sensory integration treatments for symptoms associated with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) (Schaaf et al., 2012).

 

 

 


References:

Schaaf, R. C., Hunt, J., & Benevides, T. (2012). Occupational Therapy Using Sensory Integration to Improve Participation of a Child With Autism: A Case Report. American Journal Of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 547-555. doi:10.5014/ajot.2012.004473

Sweet, M. (2010). Helping Children with Sensory Processing Disorders: The Role of Occupational Therapy.Odyssey: New Directions In Deaf Education, 11(1), 20-22.

Wheble, J., & Hong, C. (2006). Apparatus for enhancing sensory processing in children. International Journal Of Therapy & Rehabilitation,13(4), 177-181.

 

Assistance with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an autoimmune disease where your body no longer produces enough or ceases to produce insulin. What is an autoimmune disease you ask? An autoimmune disease is actually your body “attacking itself”, in the case of Type 1 DM, if your body is producing insulin, the sees this insulin as a foreign invader and destroys it! What is insulin you ask? Insulin is a hormone that our pancreas (an organ in the body), allows the body to break down sugars. Without this protein, our blood glucose (sugars) levels rise and are not able to properly return back to normal ranges. This disease is also something you will have to live with, as there is no cure. However, there is good news, you will be able to take control of your sugars with the help from your doctor(s), dieting, and exercise!

After you have met with your doctor, you may experience a series of moods, these feelings can range from fear, nervousness/uncertainty to even anger! Don’t worry, you are not alone! You are not alone with this disease and there numerous ways to cope and deal with the symptoms! One of the best steps you can take with your recent diagnosis is of acceptance and realizing that it will not control your life.

One of the best ways to fight this disease is with proper dieting & exercise. Additionally, your doctor will prescribe insulin – this will come in the form of injections, patches or even a pump! This man made insulin will assist your body in lowering blood glucose levels. Proper dieting and exercise can lower these levels even more. One of the biggest challenges I have experienced with dieting is to cut my carbohydrates & sugars intake – I have a large sweet tooth! Your doctor may inform you of a special chart that I use weekly to ensure that I am following the correct meal plan for my body. The Glycemic Index is a chart that measures the sugar content found within foods. Sugars can come in many different forms in foods, from carbohydrates, natural fruit sugars and additives.The glycemic index is system that ranks foods 1-100 based on their effect of blood glucose levels; 100 is set as pure glucose. The lower the number falls on the GI, the slower it affects the blood glucose level, thus a “better” choice for diabetics. Additionally, diabetics should avoid to many carbohydrates, as the body processes these types of foods into sugars, usually falling on the higher end of the GI scale. Generally, you want to achieve 45-60 grams of carbohydrates a meal. Examples of these foods include starches (grains, rice oatmeal), fruit and juice and some dairy products. When there are no labels present, these are general guidelines for 15grams of carbohydrates for a few foods:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4oz
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
  • 2 small cookies
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • ¼ serving of medium French fry

In addition to counting your carbohydrate intake, everyone can benefit by reading and understanding nutrition labels. Look at serving sizes, grams of carbohydrates, look at calories (roughly 2000/day for women, 2500/day for men). Additionally, to assist with reducing the risk of stroke, monitor your saturated & trans-fat intake & sodium for blood pressure levels. To help a diabetic patient or anyone who is worried about their dieting, the American Diabetes Association has helpful hints & ideas on how to overcome the worries of proper eating. Their link http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/ & http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/carbohydrate-counting.html are specifically designed to help understand proper eating habits. Choose My Plate also has helpful hints, especially for younger children, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate.

References:

Are GMO’s really good for you?

gmosThe world we live in is full of amazing new discoveries and nuances.  There are creatures on this planet that have yet to be seen by human eyes.  Some of which live in impossible conditions, like the tube worms living in hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean or the glass frog secluded within the rain forest of the amazon.  We also live in a world of wondrous innovation and scientific discoveries.   Man, has always had a curiosity to learn about life and how it evolved.  These curiosities lead to scientists unlocking the mysteries of the human genome. 

This new knowledge has been at the forefront of many useful medical interventions and targeted treatments.  However, learning more information about how genes work has spearheaded other scientific work.  In 1994, Scientists began transferring genes from one species to another in an effort to create food that could sit on store shelves for a longer period of time.  We are now in a situation where chemical companies are producing the food that we eat.  These companies routinely take genes from bacteria or other organisms and place them into foods in order to create a crop that is resistant to pesticides.  This is what is commonly referred to as GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), GE crops (genetically engineered crops), or GM foods (genetically modified foods).

tomatoes

Some may think this is great, now farmer’s do not have to worry about pests eating all of their profits.  But did anyone ever stop to think of the other implications of this practice?  How do we know that these foods are safe to eat? The only answer provided by scientists and proponents of these crops is that there is no proof of harm.  Which isn’t exactly the same as saying they are safe.  What impact will these foods have on the human genome?  If we are indeed what we eat, then how will these foods modify us?  How will the addition of these foods affect the ecosystem?  How do the introductions of these crops effect the farming community?  It is strange to think that such a small change in how the worlds food is grown can have such an enormous impact on life as we know it.

gm-crops                             

GM foods have entered our food supply with such an incredible swiftness, that the public was not properly informed about what had happened.  Furthermore, until recently there was no way to know if the food you are eating contains GMO’s.  As the public became more aware and wary of GM foods, protests and demands for disclosure began.  This lead to state senators proposing the so called “dark act”, which protects companies from being required to label foods that contain GMO ingredients.  You can read more about that here: http://www.justlabelit.org/dark-act.  Some food companies have chosen to voluntarily label their products due to consumer demands and protests.  The chemical companies that produce these GM seeds are fighting against mandates that require the labeling of their product as genetically modified. There are still many questions about what kind of effect GMO’s will have on the population and its food supply.  When asked if GM foods are harmful, the only answer given is that there is no proof that they cause harm.  This is not the same as saying that they are not harmful or that they are in fact safe. 

pearsScientists in favor of GMO’s argue that their process is no different than the practice of selective breeding done by farmers for decades.  However, farmer’s engagement in selective breeding involved combining different types of the same plant life i.e. two types of tomatoes that have the flavor or color desired.  This is entirely different than combining bacteria with corn that makes it produce a insecticide in its core.  When it comes to GMO’s don’t we have the right to know what we are eating and what the long-term effects of eating it will be?  Monsanto is one of the largest producers of GM seeds, they also happen to produce Round Up.  They call there brand of seeds “Round Up Ready seeds”Shall we let companies that produce pesticides also produce the food we eat?  I’ll let you decide.

References

Lantham, J., I used to work as a scientist with GMO’s -now I’m having second thoughts about the risks., AlterNet, retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/food/i-used-work-scientist-gmos-now-im-having-serious-second on 11/16.2016

Lupi, R., Denery-Papini, S., Rogniaux, H., Lafiandra, D., Rizzi, C., De Carli, M., & … Larré, C. (2013). How much does transgenesis affect wheat allergenicity?: Assessment in two GM lines over-expressing endogenous genes. Journal Of Proteomics, 80281-291. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2013.01.028 http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=26&sid=0150818f-4b18-4182-8549-007a26cd35d5%40sessionmgr4010&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=86396459&db=a9h

Marschall, L. A. (2005). Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods. 114(2), 67-70. http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=11&sid=0150818f-4b18-4182-8549-007a26cd35d5%40sessionmgr4010&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=16269377&db=lfh

Meghani, Z. (2014). Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Food and Neoliberalism: An Argument for Democratizing the Regulatory Review Protocol of the Food and Drug Administration. Journal Of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics, 27(6), 967-989. doi:10.1007/s10806-014-9511-1, http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=0150818f-4b18-4182-8549-007a26cd35d5%40sessionmgr4010&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=99710895&db=bth

Motavalli, P. m., Kremer, R. J., Fang, M., & Means, N. E. (2004). Impact of Genetically Modified Crops and Their Management on Soil Microbially Mediated Plant Nutrient Transformations. Journal Of Environmental Quality, retrieved from http://dzumenvis.nic.in/Microbes%20and%20Soil%20Fertility/pdf/Impact%20of%20Genetically%20Modified%20Crops.pdf on 11/14/2016.

Pelletier, D. L. (2005). Science, law, and politics in FDA’s genetically engineered foods policy: scientific concerns and uncertainties. Nutrition Reviews, 63(6 Pt 1), 210-223. http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=15&sid=0150818f-4b18-4182-8549-007a26cd35d5%40sessionmgr4010&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=16028565&db=cmedm

PETHERAM, J. (1999, April 29). Genetic concerns in future food. Nelson Mail, The. p. 11. http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?sid=0150818f-4b18-4182-8549-007a26cd35d5%40sessionmgr4010&vid=21&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=NEM990429-JPPANDP29-0041&db=n5h

 

 

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Comprehensive Guide for Families and Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease poses many potential challenges for families and caregivers. The demands of daily care, changes in family roles, and decisions about your loved ones future can place a high physical, emotional, and financial toll on you and your family. It can be difficult to comprehend the physical, mental, and emotional changes associated with this disease, so taking advantage of the many resources available to caregivers is essential.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a chronic or persistent disorder that affects memory and other intellectual abilities enough to cause a disruption to an individuals daily life. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include issues with memory, thinking, and behavior which slowly progress over time until the person is no longer able to function independently. The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) estimates nearly 1 in 3 seniors are currently living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, there is no known cure, however there are several treatments available to reduce symptoms as well as continuing research to slow it’s progression. 

Source: www.alz.org

The Caregiver Role
The demands placed on individuals responsible for caring for family members diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are significant. This type of care is physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. The role of caregiver can be time-consuming as nearly 1 in 4 caregivers are required to provide “constant care”—committing 40 or more hours per week to caregiving— which may impact work and family life.

When caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, caregivers are often required to provide personal care such as bathing, feeding, dressing, and assisting with incontinence issues. This is not an easy task as many individuals with Alzheimer’s are noncompliant due to feelings of confusion and disorientation. They are typically unable to assist even in the most basic activities of daily living so the responsibility falls solely on the caregiver.

Caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease often face unique challenges as well due to their loved one’s cognitive impairment. Responsibilities such as taking on financial management, medication management and household chores are all added items to the caregiver’s plate.

When combined, it is clear that these newfound responsibilities placed on you as a caregiver may lead to feelings of stress and caregiver burden.

Recognizing Symptoms of Caregiver Burden
High levels of stress are frequently reported by Alzheimer’s caregivers. The following is a look at some of the possible symptoms:

  • Denial about the diagnosis and the effect it will on the relative in the upcoming years. Thinking they will get “better”
  • Anger directed towards the person you are caring for and frustration when they are unable to do activities they once were able to
  • Social withdrawal from friends and family that you once enjoyed
  • Anxiety about your loved ones future and fear that you will not be able to continue caring for them
  • Depression that affects your ability to cope. Thinking “I just don’t care anymore”
  • Exhaustion inability to complete daily tasks because you’ve become to tired
  • Sleeplessness sometimes caused by a never-ending to do list and concerns.
  • Irritability causing you to respond to your loved one negatively
  • Lack of concentration forgetfulness and inability to complete tasks
  • Health problems from the  physical and mental exhaustion

In this video, families discuss the transition from spouse, child, sibling or other relative to caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and various ways they cope with stress associated with their new role.

What you can do…
One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself. While you may be busy caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, it’s important to recognize the impact this role has on your own emotional, physical and mental health. Be aware of feelings of frustration, confusion, anger and sadness that may occur and recognize these feelings are normal. Taking action to address your own mental health will only increase your ability to be the best version of yourself while caring for your loved one.

Always remember, it is okay to ask for help whether it’s from other family members, use of adult day services, or involving a home health care agency, if caregiving becomes too much to handle alone be sure to reach out. Utilizing these resources will not only bring you relief, but may prevent any illness or depression associated with caregiver burden.

Additional ways to take care of yourself

  • Ask family and friends to help you in specific ways (ex: taking the person with Alzheimer’s out for a few hours, making a meal, help with cleaning around the house etc)
  • Join an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group—available online or in person
  • Maintain your hobbies and interests
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Spend time with friends
  • Utilize relaxation techniques (visualization, meditation, breathing exercises)

The following video is an inspiring story of a woman who took on the role as caregiver to five of her relatives who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her story focuses on the positive impact this experience had on her life over the two decades she spent caring for her mother, aunts, and uncles. She recognizes the extreme sacrifices that are required to care for individuals with this disease, but with the right outlook, it can be one of the greatest experiences in your life.

It is important to remember caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease is a balancing act. In your role as caregiver, continue to do what you can to provide the best possible care for your loved one while maintaining your own personal well-being. Never hesitate to seek out help and support when you need it.


References:

Alzheimer’s Association and National Alliance for Caregiving. (2004). Families Care: Alzheimer’s Caregiving in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/national/documents/report_familiescare.pdf

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). (2012, July). Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Caring for Yourself. Retrieved from https://d2cauhfh6h4x0p.cloudfront.net/s3fs-public/alzheimers-caregiving-tips-caring-for-yourself.pdf?iCQFtawlui3WyrwaovX3INYen2_XCSrw

Mendiola-Precoma, J., Berumen, L. C., Padilla, K., & Garcia-Alcocer, G. (2016). Therapies for Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Biomed Research International, http:// library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=eb3ab4ba- fa34-43e2-8328-6aba78159cb4%40sessionmgr4008&hid=4106&bdata= JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ccm&AN=117065533

Mittelman, M. (2004, May). Sustained Benefit of Supportive Intervention for Depressive Symptoms in Caregivers of Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from http:// ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/appi.ajp.161.5.850

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Epilepsy effects millions of people in today’s society. Imagine someone close to you is suffering from epilepsy and having multiple seizures a day. Medication after medication bring on side effect after side effect and nothing’s helping to stop the seizures. Imagine if there was a new drug that could help reduce seizures with minimal side effects.

Medical Marijuana is a new type of drug that is being used to treat those living with severe epilepsy.

Toddler’s seizures treated with medical marijuana

 

How it Works

Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity. Although they can be caused by infections that can be treated with medications there are many cases of people living with epilepsy that are not caused by infections. Instead these people living with epilepsy have a misfiring of synapses in their brain causing seizures to happen. Medical Marijuana has the ability to change brain activity and preventing and stopping seizures.

 

Meet the 14-Year-Old Who Helped Legalize Medical Marijuana In NY [Documentary] | Elite Daily

 

According to the Chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Denver Health and Hospitals, the use of CBD (cannabidiol):

  • CBD can drastically reduce the number of seizures someone with epilepsy experiences. Charlotte, a little girl who had on average 50 convulsive seizures a day, was featured on a CNN special to discuss her success with taking cannabidiol, Charlotte was given a high concentration of CBD daily for 3 weeks straight. After being exposed to the CBD her seizures reduced from 50 a day to only 2-3 nocturnal convulsions per month. Not only did the CBD have an overall positive effect on Charlottes seizures, but she was also able to be taken off of her other seizure medications. This experiment shows medical marijuana can improve seizures in those living with severe epilepsy.

Marijuana Cures Child’s Seizures

 

Medical Cannabis owns this epileptic seizure

 

According to the epilepsy foundation and their research on if medical marijuana has a positive impact on seizures report to their site:

  • Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports and studies on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) showed positive outcomes
  • Experiments with epileptic patients were given medical marijuana for 12 weeks
  • Reports show a decrease in seizures by 54%

 

Side Effects

Like any medication out there, there are always a possibility of side effects. These side effects can include but are not limited to fatigue, diarrhea, and a decrease in appetite.

 

A study done by Robert Preidt decided to take a look at the effects of medical marijuana on patients with epilepsy:

  • This trial used cannabidiol (CBD) on 130 participants living with epilepsy
  • Reports from this study show that the drug gave some negative side effect
  • 12 patients had to discontinue treatment with CBD because of harsh side effects
  • These effects included diarrhea, tiredness, and decreased appetite

After researching the benefits of medical marijuana and its effect on those living with epilepsy I have concluded that the media does in fact support its medical use that can be backed up by research. These media reports show the effects that research proves.

References

Preidt, R. (2015). Liquid Medical Marijuana Shows Promise for Epilepsy. Retrieved

August 15, 2016, from Web MD:

http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/news/20150413/liquid-medical-marijuana-shows-

promise-against-severe-epilepsy

Sirven, J. MD (2015). Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy. Retrieved 08 15, 2016, from

Epilepsy Foundation: http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-

epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy

Stong, C. (2014). Is Marijuana Effective for Epilepsy?. Neurology Reviews, 22(4), 18.

 

Life with ADHD is like a Roller Coaster

Link to photo above

What is ADHD?

It is a common neurodevelopmental (this has to do with the way the brain grows and develops) disorder of childhood. ADHD is normally diagnosed in childhood affecting between 10-15% of school-aged children with symptoms showing between the ages of 3 and 6.

What does the acronym ADHD mean?

A=Attention (the act of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something)

D=Deficit (a problem that causes a decrease in some ability)

H=Hyperactivity (the state or condition of being excessively active)

D=Disorder (to disturb the normal functions of)

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-14-43-pmLink to photo above

Now that we know a little bit about ADHD, what would the symptoms of it look like?

Inattentive Symptoms:

Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes

Has difficulty sustaining attention

Appears not to listen

Struggles to follow directions

Easily distracted and easily loses things

Daydreams

Forgetful

Disorganized

Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort (ex: homework or classwork)

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Symptoms:

Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair

Has difficulty remaining seated

Runs about or climbs excessively in children

Difficulty engaging in activities quietly

Acts as if driven by a motor

Talks excessively

Blurts out answers before questions have been completed

Difficulty waiting or taking turns

Interrupts conversations

Unable to play quietly alone

No safety awareness in certain situations

Who can be diagnosed with ADHD?

The answer to this question is simple; anyone can be diagnosed with it.  It typically is diagnosed around the ages of 3 to 6 years old when the symptoms start to show.  This diagnosis is 3x more common in boys than girls, but this doesn’t mean that girls can’t be diagnosed with it.  Since there is no single test for it, other tests have to be completed in order to rule out other causes before a formal diagnosis is established.  Even though it is mostly diagnosed in childhood this doesn’t rule out a diagnosis in adulthood.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-9-59-14-pmLink to photo above

There is an episode from the TV show Modern Family and this episode was in season one, episode eighteen and it showed a real life connection between an undiagnosed child and ADHD.  The link to this episode is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bA4N_ho99M or you can find it on the ABC website.  The only thing with these links is that you have to either have a YouTube account to view it or a cable provider login to view the entire episode.  This episode mainly concerns the father (Phil) and the son (Luke) and how their mannerisms mimic the symptoms of ADHD.  In this particular episode we see Alex (one of Phil’s daughters) mention that Luke might have ADHD. In response to this comment Luke says he doesn’t and then asks what it is. Alex doesn’t want to answer since she knows by the time she explains he would be gone. Through this episode we see that instead of explaining the symptoms we see the father and son act them out and what makes it even better is that they are both completely oblivious to the fact that they are showing typical ADHD symptoms. Their mom was very overwhelmed with her son’s lack of focus and the father then attempted to help his son with a project due the next day.   We see different scenarios were different symptoms are shown, while Alex is talking through some of the symptoms with her mom, since her brother and father are oblivious that they are even experiencing symptoms.  Some different examples we see is that Luke gets easily distracted with his project or any type of homework, he tries to divert to other tasks like games or asking questions about other things.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-57-01-pmLink to photo above

Another big example is when we see Phil down to the garage to get something, and an overhead light that was flickering distracted him. Then we see him get up and opened up the light fixture to see what was wrong with the bulb, as he did this he realized he had found his sunglasses that he was looking for.  Then we witness him lose the focus for the flickering light and grab the sunglasses that were on a dangerously high shelf.  Alex and her mom both realize at the same time that this is going on right now and rush to the rescue, to help Phil and to get Luke to work on his project.  If you want more information the link to the blog post is: https://wolfshades.com/2010/03/26/tv-gem/.

You’re not alone, in your diagnosis

Each year approximately 11-20% of children are diagnosed with ADHD.  This doesn’t mean that you are different or weird.  There are many people that you might not realize are even diagnosed with it.  Some of these include some famous sports players, actors, musicians, politicians, TV show hosts, etc.  Lets see how some of these people cope with their symptoms.

There are even some animated characters that are portrayed as having ADHD.  Many people are familiar with the classic story of Winnie the Pooh.  The main characters in the story line all display characteristics that can be linked back to ADHD.  The five main characters that we will be looking at and how they connect to symptoms of ADHD are: Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit, Piglet, and Eeyore.

Tigger:  This type of ADHD can be referred to as the “tigger type.”  Most times when we saw the character of Tigger, he was alwaysscreen-shot-2016-11-16-at-7-02-05-pm bouncing around because that’s what Tiggers do best.  Some of the symptoms we can see in Tigger are inattention (easily distracted), impulsivity (doesn’t think before he acts), talks a lot, hyperactivity (has a lot of energy), restlessness (can’t sit still or wait his turn, and disorganization.

Link to photo

Winnie the Pooh:  When viewing Winnie the Pooh we can relatscreen-shot-2016-11-16-at-7-09-21-pme him back to the classic inattentive ADHD.  This is because he tends to be in a fog most of the time and even though he is very lovable, we can see that he is inattentive, sluggish, and unmotivated.  We can think of this type as a daydreamer with their head in the clouds.

Link to photo

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-7-15-45-pmRabbit:  Rabbit is the classic case of the over-focused ADHD.  He has a very hard time shifting from one task to another because he is so oriented to that one specific task.  He also gets stuck in negative thoughts, obsesses over things, inflexible, worries a lot, and always wants thing his way.  Link to photo

Piglet: Piglets character can be compared to some children who are diagnosed with ADHD in the fact that they are always worried, nervous, and startled easily.  Sometimes this causes stuttering, which we screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-7-21-04-pmsometimes see, this can be a residual symptom of ADHD in some children.  In this “Piglet Style” ADHD the brain is so over-stimulated that they are hypervigilant, trouble shifting from one activity to another, obsessive  and gets stuck with negative thoughts.  Link to photo

Eeyore:  This character of Eeyore is diagnosed with ADHD, along with depression, which can commonly happen with an ADHD diagnosis.  With Eeyore we can see that he is inattentive, he has chronic sadness, negative, apathetic, low energy level, he feels like he is worthlscreen-shot-2016-11-16-at-7-27-05-pmess, helpless, and hopeless.  We can see all of this with Eeyore as he walks slow, looks sad, doesn’t get much done, and all he really ever gets happy over is the fact he is noticed. Link to photo

What does it feel like to actually have ADHD?

To connect everything together here is one last video clip, this clip gives examples from ordinary people who are diagnosed with ADHD of what it feels like to have it.

All together these media sources summarize what the literature has to say on the topic of ADHD.  Some key points from what the literature says on the topic is that ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in school-aged children. These Children may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, and can be overly active (Attention-Deficit, N.D.). Children who are eventually diagnosed with ADHD don’t grow out of what some people might call typical childhood behaviors. According to Leslie, et al., some things that ADHD can impact are: academics, family and peer relationships, poor self-image, and low occupational performance (2007). For people diagnosed with ADHD this does not mean that they will be unsuccessful, this just means if they screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-8-17-57-pmdo not receive proper treatment that there might be serious consequences like failure in school, added stress to the family, depression, disruption to family life, substance abuse, job failure, and the list goes on. For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD they must have six symptoms and they must have them before the age of 12 (CHADD, N.D.). These symptoms can then be broken down into three categories of predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or combined. With the inattentive presentation these children have a hard time finishing tasks, paying attention to details or following directions. This type of person would be someone who is easily distracted and forgets things. With the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type these children fidgets, talks excessively, hard to sit still for long periods of time like in class, always on the go, impulsive, accident-prone, etc. The combined type has symptoms of both (Attention Deficit, N.D.). These symptoms can present as mild, moderate, or severe (CHADD, N.D.) and they will continue into adulthood. Throughout the years children can experience delays in independent functioning and behave or act younger than others their age. Another residual effect is that they might have mild delays in language, motor skills, or social development (CHADD, N.D.). A child diagnosed with ADHD might experience issues as they are growing up like academic delays, driving problems, difficulty with social problems, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, etc. Some treatment options to help control and reduce symptoms are behavior therapy and medication (Attention Deficit, N.D.). It is important to remember that not every treatment option is the same for each child it varies depending on them. Not every child will present with the same symptoms or difficulties managing ADHD, it all depends on the person. Link to photo above

Additional Resources:

If you have any additional questions three great sources to look at are:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site and search ADHD, the link is https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/index.html.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) website, this website is the national resource on ADHD.  On this page there is helpful links, tips, explanations, etc.  The link for this page is http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD.aspx.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a great page about ADHD, the link is https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/ADHD.

References:

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ADHD. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/index.html

Bass, S. (n.d.). Types of ADD/ADHD in the form of the characters from Winnie the Pooh! – HealthyPlace. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.healthyplace.com/adhd/articles/types-of-addadhd-in-the-form-of-the-characters-from-winnie-the-pooh/

CHADD – The National Resource on ADHD. (n.d.). About ADHD. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD.aspx

Leslie, L. K., & Wolraich, M. L. (2007, June 7). ADHD Service Use Patterns in Youth. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32(6), 695-710. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsm023

Top 10 Inspirational People with ADHD. (2016, October 3). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6LxfDFSZ0s

[Web log post]. (2010, March 26). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from https://wolfshades.com/2010/03/26/tv-gem/

Understanding A Way of Better Living With Multiple Sclerosis

How can you better understand your diagnosis and healthy living?

find-support-for-ms

An initial diagnosis can be scary and confusing, especially if you do not know exactly what that means for your body or your future. Understanding what it is you are diagnosed with and how it will affect you is extremely important. Multiple Sclerosis is no different but having a better understanding will help with the way that you view it.

      What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is often known as MS, which is an autoimmune disease. The tissues and cells of your body are attacked, causing nerve damage. This causes a blockage of information to the body resulting in slow or absent body movements and thoughts.

Who can be diagnosed with MS?

ms-statistics

Anyone can be diagnosed with MS. Typically, beginning symptoms become noticeable and are diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years old in young adults. Multiple sclerosis is three times more likely to be diagnosed in women than in men. It is also more common in ethnic groups. Individuals with a family history of MS have a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed due to genetics. It is currently uncertain of the exact causes of MS but known that ultimately, anyone can diagnosed at any time throughout their lives.

Below is a video of a young, active woman who was recently diagnosed and asking for advice. She is a professional dancer and lives with MS. Is this possible? Yes! Studies show that typically individuals diagnosed with MS remain working for many years developing a strong working history for as long as their body allows (Bishop, 11). 

What are the Symptoms of MS?

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary in each person. Some may experience worse or more frequent symptoms than others. Some symptoms related to multiple sclerosis include:
ms-different-affects

  • Feeling tired
  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Changes in your vision
  • Difficulty moving your arms and/or legs
  • Jerking or stiffening movements of the arms/legs or body
  • Numbness and Tingling
  • Shaking of the body
  • Bowel & Bladder changes
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Sexual Dysfunction

Different Types of Multiple Sclerosis

Now that you know what symptoms may lead to a diagnosis of MS, it is important to know that there are three different types. Different media sources may describe MS as having four categories and other resources may break it into three due to new changes and groupings of the diagnosis’. The three types of MS are Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) and Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS). Each of these diagnosis’ can be found in both males and females and at any age. RRMS is the most common diagnosis and typically later turns into SPMS as it worsens. PPMS is the least common diagnosis’. Experienced symptoms and the pace of worsening can vary in each type. The video below explains the different types of multiple sclerosis further in depth. The video does explain about a forth type known as Progressive Relapsing MS which was often used as a diagnosis in the past, but with further research it has been eliminated (Bishop, 7).

How to Better Live and Manage MS

Living with multiple sclerosis can vary for individuals depending on the affect of symptoms, how quickly or slowly the disease develops and how the disease is being managed. Currently, there is no cure but finding a way to manage and modify the disease is what can slow down it’s development. Medication is one of the most popular ways to do so. Other than medication, a healthy lifestyle including eating healthy and exercising (if you are able to) will be sure to help decrease the worsening of symptoms and slow down the development. An article titled An Update: Multiple Sclerosis further explains that the basis of generalized healthy living is what will help to slow down the development of MS (Faguy, 541). There are many people who live with MS throughout the world and they are people of all different ages, races, ethnicity, gender and social statures. Although all individuals may be experiencing different symptoms, working together and better understanding the disease is what helps these individuals to better live with their diagnosis. Below is a video of real life individuals who have been diagnosed with MS at different stages in their lives and their view and how they are currently living with the diagnosis.

 

keep-smylen

 

References: 

Bishop, M., Timblin, R. I., & Rumrill Jr., P. D. (2016). Medical, Psychosocial, and Vocational Aspects of Multiple Sclerosis: Implications for Rehabilitation Professionals. Journal Of Rehabilitation, 82(2), 6-13.

Faguy, K. (2016). Multiple Sclerosis: An Update. Radiologic Technology, 87(5), 529-553

Habibi, M., & Kuttab, H. (2016). Management of multiple sclerosis and the integration of related specialty pharmacy programs within health systems. American Journal Of Health-System Pharmacy, 73811-819. doi:10.2146/ajhp150723

http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/facts-statistics-infographic

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjVrcW6pa7QAhUI6IMKHTw9DQEQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjustkeepsmyelin.com%2Fpost%2F115505022584%2Ftedx-talk-about-living-with-ms&bvm=bv.139138859,d.amc&psig=AFQjCNEMwV0NTZKiS2DHnlCS6LByMKCn6w&ust=1479420620922406

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwia3Zjupq7QAhXK1IMKHTY7C4QQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Ftdarling1962%2Fsurviving-ms%2F&psig=AFQjCNFnrRrhadkLK3ZFx0L6Md0CCy1Tzg&ust=1479420950266079

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Wine Benefiting Health

Is it true that drinking red wine is good for you?

Three different media sources have stated and explained why and how red wine can improve your health. You may wonder how an alcoholic beverage can be beneficial to your health, and these media clips will inform.

Now, you must be wondering if these facts from the media clips are true. In fact, three different research articles were published agreeing that red wine is good for your cardiovascular health. However, studies conducted to learn how red wine is good for you, have determined which kind of red wine and how much is beneficial and not damaging to your body.

How much?

The media states red wine can reduce risk for heart disease, in which the research explains a lower risk of coronary heart disease is assisted with moderate daily consumption of alcohol. Cao & Prior also explain through their how low to moderate intake of wine is associated with lower mortality from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease; however, beer did not have the same effect. Red wine was found to be adversely different from white wine, because red white contains greater levels of flavonoids, a class of plant with secondary metabolites.

By: Carl Glover

How does this benefit my health?

A study was conducted how red wines including Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot interact with polyphenol properties with their antibacterial effect in the consumption of meat. This research showed that the best antibacterial effect of phenolic compounds combinations of Merlot or Malbec wines were due to higher flavonol concentration (Rodriguez et al, 2013). The article explains through their research that polyphenol combination found in wines or grapes as a source of phenolic compounds useful as natural biopreservatives (Rodriguez et al, 2013). The natural products provided extra human health benefits. It aids in the prevention of age-relate disorders, such as neurodegenerative disease, inflammation, diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease (O’Connell, 2009). It is suggested that resveratrol turns on the cells own defensive mechanism of the cells and prevent damage to individual cells.

By: Yevgeniy Shpika

What does it do to protect my health?

The media and news share that alcohol; such as red wine can protect the body against cancer and other life threatening disease to the human body. More current research has found that reseveratrol in red wine exhibits therapeutic potential for cancer chemprovention as well as cardioprotection. Ethanol is a beneficial effect which increases in plasma high-density lipoprotein levels, decreases in platelet aggregation, and stimulation of fibrinolysis (Cao & Prior, 2000). Red wine also has antioxidant activities, to inhibit platelet aggregation, as well as to relax the blood vessels (Cao & Prior, 2000). Consumption of one to two drinks a day of red wine is good for your overall health.

References

Cao, G., & Prior, R. L. (2000). Red Wine in Moderation: Potential Health Benefits Independent of Alcohol. Nutrition In Clinical Care, 3(2), 76.

O’Connell, N. (2009). Red-wine polyphenol resveratrol demonstrates significant health benefits. Nurse Prescribing, 7(9), 422.

RODRÍGUEZ VAQUERO, M. J., AREDES FERNÁNDEZ, P. A., MANCA DE NADRA, M. C., & STRASSER DE SAAD, A. M. (2013). EFFECT OF PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS FROM ARGENTINEAN RED WINES ON PATHOGENIC BACTERIA IN A MEAT MODEL SYSTEM. Journal Of Food Biochemistry, 37(4), 425-431. doi:10.1111/j.1745-4514.2011.00648.x