Mindfulness as effective as CBT

For treatment of depression and anxiety, group mindfulness is as effective as individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a Swedish study suggested.                                                              

The multi-centric study is the first to compare the efficacy of group mindfulness treatment with individual CBT among patients with anxiety and depression in primary healthcare setup.

Approximately 215 patients with 10 individuals per group were randomized to receive either individual CBT or group mindfulness treatment with private training programme. The patients were asked to maintain dairy to record their exercises schedule that lasted 8 weeks. Self-reported survey questionnaire was employed to assess the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms, before and after treatment.

Significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in both groups, with no marked differences in terms of treatment efficacy was observed between two groups. If conducted by certified instructors, group mindfulness is as effective as individual CBT for treatment of depression and anxiety, the researchers noted. 

DHA suppress stress in pregnant women

Taking omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosohexanenoic acid) might be helpful to reduce stress in pregnant women living in high-stress environment. The supplement lower cortisol levels ad improve developmental outcomes of infants in the womb. The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology
The study included 64 black women between 16 and 21 weeks of pregnancy. The subjects were aged 20-30 years and lived in low-income environment. The participants were randomly treated with either 450 mg of DHA or a placebo, every day. The stress levels were checked by self-reported questionnaire and saliva test samples at the start date of the study, 24th week and 30th weeks of pregnancy. The stress response to various mental exercises, math problems and speech was tested. Significant reduction in stress levels at 30th week of pregnancy with reduced cortisol levels was observed in DHA-treated women, compared with non-treated women. Suppressed cortisol is believed to be beneficial for infants in terms of developmental skills.

The blood DHA levels of low-income pregnant women were much lower than normal levels, the authors noted.

Omega-3 supplements could reduce cigarette cravings

Taking omega-3 supplements could reduce nicotine cravings and frequency of smoking, according to a study conducted by the researchers at the University of Haifa.                                                                          
Most of the medications being prescribed to reduce or quit smoking are ineffective and often cause serious side effects. Omega-3 supplements are generally inexpensive and safe option to reduce smoking, said Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, addiction medicine expert, University of Haifa.

By depleting circulatory levels of omega-3 fatty acids, prolonged smoking increase the risk of developing immune disorders, progressive lung diseases including cancer. Omega-3 deficiency affects brain’s neural network that are involved in reward pathway, addiction and motivation. Omega-3 deficiency increase addiction risk by causing depression and stress.

The study involved 48 smokers between 18 and 45 years of age who smoked at least 10 cigarettes, every day, over a year. All the subjects were diagnosed with moderate nicotine dependency. One group was assigned to receive omega-3 capsules (5/day for 30 days) and the rest were on placebo. The participants were allowed to smoke throughout the study period.

Using various techniques, nicotine craving and dependence was assessed before, during and at the end of the study. After thirty days, significant reduction in nicotine craving and smoking frequency was observed in omega-3 treated subjects. The treatment benefit continued over a month, even after the subjects discontinued omega-3 supplements. No benefits were observed in placebo group.

Being active is better than medications for back pain management

Simply being active is way better than taking acetaminophen and rest to manage back pain, a recent study revealed.                                                        

Acetaminophen is not really helpful to eliminate back pain in most of the patients. Actually, the pain medication work for some, but not for all. Active life is the key for healthy life. In the modern world, certain nature of job makes us sedentary. Individuals working in PC should move around, change positions often or go for a walk during work hours to keep them healthy, said Dr. Chris Sebelski, one of the researchers.

To reduce or prevent back pain, perform deep breathing exercises such as yoga, loud laughing and cardio to activate key muscles in the trunk. Taking rest actually weakens the muscles, Dr. Chris noted.

Sugar addiction is much worse than cocaine addiction

Yes, it is now officially proved!!! Sugar addiction is much worse than cocaine addiction, a recent suggested. The results of the present study were in-line with previous study published in PLOS ONE in 2007. The brain’s response and reward pathway associated with sugar addiction is similar to addictive illegal drugs. It might be even hard to break habitual sugar consumption than cocaine addiction, according to the study.                                                         

In experimental studies, the laboratory animals were given option to choose either saccharin-mixed drinking water or normal drinking water. About 50% of the animals were on cocaine injections. Shockingly, cocaine-received animals chose normal drinking water while the rest of the animals rushed for saccharin-mixed drinking water. Other similar studies reported that common table sugar was preferred by the animals over cocaine. The pleasure of sweetness, sheer intensity of sugar might be the cause of more addictiveness than cocaine, the scientists believe.
The sugar cravings associated mesolimbic (brain) reward pathway is biologically equivalent to cocaine addiction pathway.Upon abrupt withdrawal of sugar exposure, the animals exhibited characteristics of withdrawal syndrome such as stress, anxiety and behavioral changes, the study concluded.
Some mainstream experts believe that cow’s milk and wheat contains certain opioid-like substances (casomorphin and gluten exorphins) that are equally addictive to heroin.

Links between BPA exposure and food intolerance revealed

For the first time, the possible links between perinatal (period immediately before and after birth) exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) and risk of developing food intolerance in later stages were reported in The FASEB Journal. The risk is likely even at low doses exposure, the experimental study suggested. 
BPA is generally found in polycarbonate plastics used in certain medical devices, food cans, water bottles, dental sealants, baby bottles, water supply pipes and drink packaging etc. BPA leaches into the food substances, and contributes to BPA exposure. The degree of BPA leaching depends on the temperature of food or liquid substances. Hot water accelerates leaching of BPA in water bottles, particularly in prolonged used bottles.

According to Dr. Sandrine Menard, department of Neuro-Gastroenterology and Nutrition, INRA, France, food consumption is the main source of BPA exposure in most people. The study found evidential association between perinatal BPA exposure and development of food intolerance/allergy in later stages of life.

The study involved low dose oral exposure of BPA in rat pups, up to weaning period. In later stages of life, abnormal immune response to new food proteins such as ovalbumin (egg protein) was observed. The symptoms of immune reaction to ovalbumin mimicked food intolerance/allergy in BPA exposed animals. Generally, the results of experimental animals are similar to human clinical trials.