Three Coffees A Day Keep The Strokes Away, Say Scientists

By Huffington Post

Coffee Helps Prevent StrokesIf you can’t make it through the day without your daily caffeine hit, here’s some good news for you – drinking two to four cups of coffee a day could significantly reduce your risk of a stroke.

The study, led by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, delved into the already divided debate among health experts on whether coffee can have health benefits.

The comprehensive research, which involved half a million people studied from the mid 1960s to 2011, discovered that people who drank two cups of coffee a day, reduced their risk of a stroke by 14%. Furthermore, big coffee drinkers, who downed up to four cups a day, were 17% less likely to suffer from a stroke or blood clots.

Full story at Huffington Post UK

Schizophrenia patients show excessive cortical thinning over time

By Mark Cowen

Cortical Thinning in SchizophreniaMedWire News: Patients with schizophrenia demonstrate excessive thinning of the cortex over time relative to mentally healthy individuals, study results show.

Writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Neeltje van Haren (University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands) and team explain: “Evidence is accumulating that schizophrenia is characterized by excessive loss of cerebral gray matter (GM) volume over time in the early and chronic stages of the disease. Because most GM tissue is found in the cortex, excessive cortical thinning may explain part of the excessive decreases in GM volume reported in this disease.”

However, they add that “unlike changes in global GM in schizophrenia over time, cortical thickness has not been studied longitudinally.”

To address this, the researchers studied 96 patients with schizophrenia and 113 mentally healthy individuals (controls) who were aged between 16 and 56 years.

Full story at Med Wire News

Music Therapy Ride strikes right chord

By The Motrorcyclegalz

Music Therapy RideNo one really needs convincing on how important music is in our lives.

The Music Therapy Ride celebrates 10 years on Sept. 17, and while the ride is predominantly motorcycles, classic cars and other vehicles are invited too.

With the support of the Vancouver police department’s motorcycle drill team, participants can expect a non-stop ride from Richmond to Whistler, taking in some of the best scenery in the Lower Mainland.

“They [the VPD Motorcycle drill team] lead us all the way to Whistler,” said event organizer Patrick Zulinov, assistant program director of FM radio station Shore 104. “We don’t stop at one light. It is like a presidential motorcade. They scoot around us, up to the next light, stop all the traffic for us — all the way to Whistler.”

Full story at Vancouver Sun

Boost Your Mood: 5 Pick-Me-Ups That Are Absolutely Free

By Shelley White

Boost Your MoodIf you’re like many busy families, the advent of September means an end to the lazy, hazy days of summer and a return to the stressed-out, hustle and bustle of back-to-school (and back to work). But if you’re lamenting having to vacate your hammock and start worrying about things like homework and band practice, there are ways to relieve your anxiety without a pricey spa day. In fact, here are five pick-me-ups that are absolutely free:

1. Music
If you’re looking for a cheap thrill, just click on your favorite playlist, throw on some headphones and crank up the tunes. As reported in Science Daily, a study published earlier this year by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University revealed that pleasurable music induces dopamine release in the same way that tangible rewards like food, drugs and sex can. The results, which were published in the journal, ‘Nature Neuroscience,’ showed that even the anticipation of pleasurable music (that is, music that induced “chills” in the study subjects) prompted dopamine release. So whether your tastes run to Robyn or Zeppelin or Josh Groban, kick out the jams and feel your bad mood melt away.

Full story at Huffington Post

Understanding and Coping With Nicotine Withdrawal

By Deepak Chopra, MD, Alexander Tsiaras, and the VisualMD.com

Nicotine WithdrawalEach year, nearly 450,000 Americans die from smoking related illnesses. That’s more than all deaths from HIV/AIDS, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. So why do smokers continue to light up when statistics like these make it clear that they should quit? Nicotine addiction is powerful, which makes quitting difficult–but it is possible. There are now 45 million smokers, but 47 million successful quitters. By understanding nicotine addiction and withdrawal, you can be better prepared to crush out this destructive habit for good.

Understanding the Addiction

When you smoke, nicotine speeds to receptors that trigger the release of dopamine, your body’s feel-good chemical. Nicotine causes dopamine to be released in several parts of the brain: the mesolimbic pathway, the corpus striatum, the nucleus accumbens and the frontal cortex (highlighted above). Over time, the receptors where nicotine can connect become desensitized. This means that they lose some of their ability to send signals that result in the release of dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. As a result, more nicotine receptor sites are created. The overall effect is that smokers who have developed additional receptors need more nicotine to avoid having withdrawal symptoms.

Full story at Huffington Post