Healthy Lifestyle Choices Mean Fewer Memory Complaints

Research has shown that healthy behaviors are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but less is known about the potential link between positive lifestyle choices and milder memory complaints, especially those that occur earlier in life and could be the first indicators of later problems.

To examine the impact of these lifestyle choices on memory throughout adult life, UCLA researchers and the Gallup organization collaborated on a nationwide poll of more than 18,500 individuals between the ages of 18 and 99. Respondents were surveyed about both their memory and their health behaviors, including whether they smoked, how much they exercised and how healthy their diet was.

As the researchers expected, healthy eating, not smoking and exercising regularly were related to better self-perceived memory abilities for most adult groups. Reports of memory problems also increased with age. However, there were a few surprises.

Older adults (age 60-99) were more likely to report engaging in healthy behaviors than middle-aged (40-59) and younger adults (18-39), a finding that runs counter to the stereotype that aging is a time of dependence and decline. In addition, a higher-than-expected percentage of younger adults complained about their memory.

Full story healthy lifestyle and memory at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Exercise May Protect Brain Against Heavy Drinking, Study Suggests

Exercise may help protect the brains of people who drink heavily, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder found exercise may help prevent damage to white matter in heavy drinkers. White matter is involved with learning, processing, thinking and communication between various regions of the brain.

Previous research found heavy alcohol exposure may have an adverse effect on white matter, U.S. News reports. The new study indicated that regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or bicycling, is associated with less damage to white matter in heavy drinkers.

The 60 participants, who were moderate or heavy drinkers, were asked about their drinking behaviors, their attempts to control their drinking, and their exercise routines. They also underwent brain scans that looked at white matter.

Full story of protecting the brain from alcohol at DrugFree.org

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Are we over-diagnosing mental illness?

To ease the heartache of her first child’s stillbirth, Kelli Montgomery chose rigorous exercise, yoga and meditation over the antidepressants and sleeping pills that her physicians immediately suggested.

“‘You need to be on this medication or that medication.’ It was shocking to me that that was the first line of defense,” said Montgomery, 42, director of the MISS Foundation for Grieving Families in Austin, Texas. “From the time I was in the hospital to when I was seeing my general practitioner, that’s what they were insisting on.”

Her choice stemmed partly from a longtime aversion to taking prescription drugs. It was also the result of listening to a growing group of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers from around the world who argue that depression and other normal responses to life’s toughest challenges are too often labeled as disorders — and as such, demand medicine with sometimes dangerous side effects.

Full story of over diagnosing at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Less housework + more technology = worse health, study says

Since the 1960s, women have been spending more and more time in formal work environments, which means less time at home, doing housework.

Thanks to technology, those who do stay home and choose to do household chores have a much easier time than women did in the ’60s. Combine this with the sedentary nature of many modern jobs, the free time that technology affords us and the prevalence of televisions, computers and tablets, and women’s health is negatively affected — and is affecting the health of their children — according to a recently released report.

“The premise of the study is that humans have engineered activity out of every domain of daily life … from the workplace to the home … but we are not suggesting that women should be doing more housework,” said Dr. Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lead author of the study.

Full story of housework and health at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Moments of Spirituality Can Induce Liberal Attitudes, Researchers Find

Spirituality Induces Liberal AttitudesPeople become more politically liberal immediately after practicing a spiritual exercise such as meditation, researchers at the University of Toronto have found.

"There’s great overlap between religious beliefs and political orientations," says one of the study authors, Jordan Peterson of U of T’s Department of Psychology. "We found that religious individuals tend to be more conservative and spiritual people tend to be more liberal. Inducing a spiritual experience through a guided meditation exercise led both liberals and conservatives to endorse more liberal political attitudes."

"While religiousness is characterized by devotion to a specific tradition, set of principles, or code of conduct, spirituality is associated with the direct experience of self-transcendence and the feeling that we’re all connected," says lead author Jacob Hirsh of U of T’s Rotman School of Management.

Full story spirituality and liberal attitudes at Science Daily

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education