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2nd Week of April 2024 — Best Of Heath Reports



Guilt-Reducing Mindfulness May Have Negative Consequences. BEST OF:  Feb 2022



Mindfulness meditation can reduce your guilt, but doing so may have a negative impact on your social relationships.  Psychologists at the University of Washington conducted a series of 8 experiments on 1400 participants that included 3 groups: US adults recruited online, undergrads at UPenn’s Wharton business school, and Portuguese grad students.


The initial study demonstrated that mindfulness exercises could effectively reduce guilt feelings.  Subsequent studies went on to explore the consequences of that guilt reduction.  One experiment showed that those whose mindfulness reduced their guilt were significantly less likely to provide financial compensation to someone they had wronged.  Another study showed that mindfulness-driven guilt reduction drove a reduced tendency to apologize and otherwise smooth over an abrasive social interaction.


Like many techniques, mindfulness can have negative as well as positive consequences.  The researchers found that meditation emphasizing thoughts of other-directed loving kindness rather than self-centered enhancement lead to less sociopathic behavior.


#mindfulness #sociopathic #guilt #love

mindfulness, sociopathic, guilt, love



Intense Athletic Training May Be A Downer:  BEST OF:  Mar 2022



The greater the intensity of road cycling training on a given day, the lower the moods of those cyclists the following day.  Researchers at Barcelona’s Laboratory of Sports Psychology and Sport Research Institute carefully monitored 5 recreational road cyclists over a 6 week period.   Captured was data that reflected the cyclists actual and perceived physical exertion and their cardiovascular responses on the training day and the day after.   Their mood was quantitated using a 10-point scale.


The morning after a day of intense cycling and exertion, the mood of the trainees tended to be low as did their heart rate variabilities.  This was particularly true if a trainees felt that the level of required physical exertion was beyond their capacities.


This model provides a framework for tailoring the progressive intensity of athletic training to the capabilities and needs of the trainees.  This strategy is incorporated into a number of smartphone apps.


#athletics #training #exertion #mood #heartratevariability


athletics, training, exertion, mood, heartratevariability




Almonds Drive Recovery Following Sudden Physical Exertion:  BEST OF Jan 2023



Those regularly consuming almonds in advance of unexpected, sudden vigorous exercise report less fatigue and muscle soreness as well as better leg and back strength. North Carolina investigators report this association following their randomized study of 64 middle aged men and women.


The experimental group ate 57 grams of almonds daily for one month before the 90 minute exercise challenge while the controls ate fiber bars.  The almond-eater’s reduced pain and suffering was associated with 69% higher muscle levels of agents that stimulate faster metabolic recovery.  The investigators attribute this phenomenon to the polyphenols in almond skins.


So, do exercise consistently.  To minimize the pain associated with planned and unplanned physical exertion, empty those jars of almonds.


#almonds #exercise #pain #soreness #polyphenols

almonds, exercise, pain, soreness, polyphenols



Limp Handshakes Associated With Depression: Best Of Jan 2023




Those with a strong handgrip have a 26% lower risk of depression as years go by.  This the conclusion after a study of 115,600 older Europeans living in 24 different countries over a 7 year period.  


The investigators found a dose-response relationship between handgrip power and risk of depression for both men and women.  The association seemed somewhat stronger for women than for men. 


The association may be due to the fact that physical strength is an indicator of an overall level of health and well-being.  Then too, those who firmly grip the hands of those they meet is an indication of a positivity that cascades through through their social and work lives.


#handgrip #strength #depression #positivity

handgrip, strength, depression, positivity




Your Favorite Music Deadens Your Pain:  BEST OF February 2023



Listening to music you love lowers your pain threshold.  Dutch anesthesia-pain researchers studied the perception of pressure- and electrically-induced pain in 415 subjects.  Tolerance for both types of pain was better for those listening to their preferred brands of music rather than music they found annoying.  One odd finding: listening to music you hate prior to that you love improved its pain-reducing effect.


#pain #music #preferred #disliked

pain, music, preferred, disliked




Ramen Bowls Burn Kids:  BEST OF February 2023



Nearly one one every three pediatric admissions for burns is due to scalding from a hot bowl of noodles.  This from a  University of Chicago review of 790 children under 18 years of age.  The data showed that 31% of the burns were due to instant noodles, that those with ramen burns compared with those due to other causes were slightly older, 5.4 yrs vs 3.8 years, that boys were more often burned than girls, that black children were more likely to be injured than those in other racial groups, 91% vs 75%, and that unsupervised children were more often burned, 37% to 21%.  If you plan to serve instant noodles to your kids, check the temperature and supervise the meal.


#ramen #noodles #children #burns #africanamerican

ramen, noodles, children, burns, africanamerican




Heavy Lifting Also Lifts Sperm Counts:  BEST OF Mar 2023



Men who regularly lift or move heavy objects at work enjoy a 44% higher sperm count and a 46% higher sperm concentration compared with those who do not move heavy objects as part of their occupational activities.  Harvard researchers studied 377 male partners of couples undergoing infertility workups and used surveys to elicit information about their physical activities during working hours.


The men had a median age of 36 years and were 87% caucasian.  Of the group, 12% lifted or moved heavy objects occupationally, 6% noted heavy physical exertion at work but no interaction with weighty objects, and 9% had evening or rotating work shifts.  The highest levels of physical exertion and working evening and/or rotating shifts were associated with not only more sperm both also higher testosterone and estradiol hormonal levels.


The study did not involve those who lift weights recreationally, but it stands to reason that men who work in offices could optimize their virility by bench pressing those pounds off hours.


#sperm #infertility #weightlifting #testosterone #exercise #nightshift

sperm, infertility, weightlifting, testosterone, exercise, nightshift




Why We Fear Clowns:  Best Of: Mar 2023



More than half of people of all ages admit to a fear of clowns or so-called coulrophobia. A survey of 987 participants by South Wales psychologists reveals that 53.5% of us have some fear of clowns,  Compare this with other phobias where 3.8% have a fear of animals, 3% have a fear of needles, 2.8% have a fear of heights, 2.3% fear weather, 2.2% fear closed spaces and 1.3% fear flying.


Those admitting coulrophobia were questioned further to discover the reasons for their fears.  The most common reasons included: 

  • Bizarre facial features: exaggerated and distorted human features; inability to read a clown due to a mask or facial makeup.

  • Unpredictable behavior.

  • A previous disturbing interaction with a clown.

  • Creepy clown stories in movies and on tv.


#clowns #fear #coulrophobia 

clowns, fear, coulrophobia 




Breastfeeding Associated with Better Teen Academics:  BEST OF Jun 2023




Babies breastfed for at least 4 months perform significantly better on their English and Math achievement tests at age 16 than those never breastfed.  This from a British study of 5000 kids born between 2000 and 2002.


Tabulating the teen’s scores on the British General Certificate of Secondary Education or GCSE tests, those breastfed for 4-6 months versus never scored 2.1 points higher, those breastfed 6-12 months scored 2.6 points higher, and those breastfed more than 12 months scarred 3.1 points higher.


Bottom line: breastfeeding for at least 4 months is associated with better teen test scores.  Breastfeeding may not be the cause, but it is associated with other parental choices that help produce academically successful children.


#breastfeeding #testing #academics #adolescents #parenting

breastfeeding, testing, academics, adolescents, parenting




Grilling Food May Damage Your DNA:  Best Of June 2023



You might say: Doc….We’ve heard over and over that charcoal grilling produces carcinogenic compounds that might later trigger cancer.  Now, though, Stanford University chemists have uncovered yet another genetic risk associated with cooking foods at high temperatures.


We know that our food comes from plants and animals, but we never think about the fact that the food contains its own DNA.  The researchers have studied the considerable damage that occurs to this food DNA when you heat and super heat it.  They then proved with tracer studies that fragments of this damaged food DNA is incorporated into mammalian cells not only in the test tube but also in the lining cells of test animals.  The higher the cooking temperatures the greater the DNA damage.


So think about this the next time you are grilling or, for that matter, cooking pizza in a high temperature oven.  We don’t yet know what harm this damaged food DNA may trigger over time.  But…..This latest data is food for thought that contains no damaged DNA.


#dna #charcoal #grilling #pizza #fooddna

dna, charcoal, grilling, pizza, fooddna

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