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Coronavirus

Coronavirus' Top Targets: Men, Seniors, Smokers

Early data suggested that men were more vulnerable, as they accounted for just more than half the cases, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected men died twice as often as infected women.
web md - 3 hours ago
Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families - harvard

Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families

Establishing a legal relationship between parents and their children allows both parents to make care decisions. For LGBTQ+ families, this can be especially important. In some states, co-parent adoption, which offers broader protection than a state birth certificate, is available. The post Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 day ago
With New Hotspots, Coronavirus on Verge of Pandemic  - web md

With New Hotspots, Coronavirus on Verge of Pandemic

Pandemics are more severe than outbreaks or epidemics. It’s a term that signals that a disease is a threat to the entire world.  While public health officials seemed to downplay the significance of attaching the word to COVID-19, there’s no doubt about its importance in public messaging.
web md - 1 day ago
Hands or feet asleep? What to do - harvard

Hands or feet asleep? What to do

It’s happened to all of us: a hand or leg temporarily “falls asleep,” usually from being in one position for too long. Why does it happen? Are there times when you should be concerned about it? The post Hands or feet asleep? What to do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat - harvard

C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat

The bacteria known as C. diff has become a leading cause of infection among hospitalized patients. The infection is more common following antibiotic therapy, and it is challenging to treat because of a high relapse rate. The post C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? - harvard

Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder?

One approach to treating bipolar disorders is manipulation of the body’s circadian rhythms. A recent review of research found that such therapies may help, often in combination with medications and psychotherapy. The post Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters - harvard

Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters

Lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event, but can they also help those with diabetes? A recent study found a positive association between healthy lifestyle choices and reduced cardiovascular risk for those with type 2 diabetes. The post Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma  - web md

Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, and they have long been promoted as important for helping kids grow and helping kids and adults build and maintain strong bones. Now a new study questions whether diary deserves its health halo.
web md - 1 week ago
What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? - harvard

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation. The post What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? - harvard

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Could an ingredient in toothpaste be harmful to your bones? Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been banned from soaps and hand sanitizers by the FDA, and researchers have found that women with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had low bone density measurements. The post Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
When is a heavy period too heavy? - harvard

When is a heavy period too heavy?

Girls and their parents often wonder when bleeding with a period is too heavy. It's normal for periods to be irregular and occasionally heavy in the first few years after menstruation starts, but some signs of heavy bleeding merit a call to your child’s doctor. The post When is a heavy period too heavy? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use - harvard

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Researchers looking for ways to help people manage pain without drugs found that the practice of mind-body therapies was associated with reduced pain intensity, and may also assist some people in reducing their use of opioid medications. The post Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind - harvard

Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind

Because skin color affects the presentation of skin conditions, dermatologists must consider skin color in making diagnoses. Because of this, people of color may want to seek out a dermatologist who understands their specific needs and concerns. The post Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US - harvard

What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US

Between 1959 and 2014, average life expectancy in the United States rose astoundingly by nearly a decade. Then it began declining. A recent report examining this situation raises tough questions about that unexpected change. The post What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
More Patients Turning to

More Patients Turning to 'Direct Primary Care'

DPC Frontier, which tracks the number of direct primary care practices nationally, estimates there are 1,219 practices in 48 states and Washington, D.C. They range in size from solo practitioners to corporate, multisite direct primary care organizations with thousands of doctors.
web md - 2 weeks ago
With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice - harvard

With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice

There is ample evidence to support the healthfulness of a vegan diet. However, those who choose vegan eating may not get enough of some nutrients unless they pay careful attention to their food intake, or choose to take supplements. The post With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Coronavirus: What parents should know and do - harvard

Coronavirus: What parents should know and do

It’s natural for parents to be worried about whether their children could be at risk from the novel coronavirus. While there is much that is still not known, common sense and simple public health precautions will help protect everyone. The post Coronavirus: What parents should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Infertility the second time around - harvard

Infertility the second time around

If you have a child and wish for more but are struggling with fertility issues, you may have many feelings and concerns. Here are some steps and strategies you may find helpful. The post Infertility the second time around appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma - harvard

Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

Though only about 1% of skin cancers are melanomas, they are responsible for 90% of skin cancer deaths. Recent advances in treatment options have improved survival rates for melanoma, but it’s still best to take preventive steps to protect your skin. The post Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus - harvard

Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus

New information about the spread of coronavirus is coming at us seemingly every minute from many sources. But how much of this information is trustworthy? And which sources should you believe? The post Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

harvard - 2 weeks ago

Our ability to feel pain and react to it is both a boon and a curse, simultaneously. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage. This means that pain is highly subjective, and it is informed by a mix of past experiences, our current emotional state, and future expectations. Since pain is an emotional and sensory experience it affects our quality of life immensely, and treatment is complex.

Chronic pain management with opioids is not ideal

Opioids are among the most potent medications used to manage pain. Opioids curb pain by blocking pain signals between the brain and the body. This class of medication also relaxes the brain, providing a sense of calm and euphoria, and there is a high risk of addiction. Opioid misuse is more pronounced in people who have had surgery and been given opioids than in people who have not had surgery. The longer a person uses opioids, the greater risk of their misusing these medications. The ongoing opioid epidemic has led physicians to look for adjunct and nonmedication therapies to help people reduce opioid use and still effectively manage pain.

Mind-body therapies for pain management

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are integrative practices, and they include breathing exercises and/or body movements aimed at achieving relaxation of mind and body. Some MBTs are Isha yoga, vipassana, mindfulness-based stress reduction, integrative body-mind training, tai chi, guided imagery, cognitive behavioral therapy, and others.

Pain and meditation both alter our senses, thinking, and emotional responses

One MBT is mindfulness meditation, which involves practicing attention control, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. There is increased perception and awareness with mindfulness practices, and meditation addresses both the sensory and emotional components of pain. The interoception center in the brain increases and the amygdala shrinks in size with regular mindfulness practices, which explains better emotional regulation and pain control. The brains ability to react to painful stimuli with an emotional response decreases, and a person is more likely to respond calmly to a stimulus instead of having a hasty emotional reaction (hurt, pain, anger, etc.). The increased perception and awareness with regular mediation will make a person feel every sensation, including pain; however, they may choose not to react to it, so practicing meditation can help you better manage pain.

New research on MBTs for pain management and reducing opioid use

A recent paper published in JAMA looked into the use of MBTs as potential tools in addressing the opioid crisis. Researchers reviewed 60 randomized clinical trials with 6,404 participants and found that MBTs had a moderate association with reduction in pain intensity and a small but statistically significant association with reduced opioid dose. These findings suggest that MBTs are an effective nonmedication tool in reducing the experience of pain, and using MBTs may have some benefit in reducing opioid use and misuse. MBTs may also help with cravings for opioids if someone is trying to reduce their dose.

However, a closer look into the analysis reveals that the type of MBT used affects therapeutic efficacy. Often combinations of MBTs are used to treat pain, and it is difficult to be certain which type of MBT is most effective. There is also a lack of conclusive evidence for the benefit of using MBTs in certain clinical scenarios (such as following surgery), due to inconsistent reporting of opioid dosing and durations. Lastly, there is currently a gap in our understanding regarding the right time to implement MBTs, and their effectiveness as an adjunct to opioid-treated pain. All these criticisms do not negate the results of the JAMA study; rather, this work highlights a need for future research to determine what types of MBTs could be most effective in helping with pain and reducing opioids.

Routine mindfulness meditation practices can improve your quality of life

As mentioned, MBTs, particularly meditation, play a huge role in transforming our experience of pain. Meditation allows us to recognize the authenticity of distress and not be overwhelmed by it. Learning and practicing mindfulness-based meditation is a means to deal with pain and the inevitable stresses of life, and to improve your quality of life. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and no one MBT that works for everyone.

The array of available MBTs means there is flexibility to choose your level of involvement and time spent in these practices. Our personal experience with meditation and its effects on our lives and the well-being of our patients make us strong advocates of MBTs. As always, discuss all medication changes and new lifestyle practices with your doctor.

The post Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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