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75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart  - web md

75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart

People 75 and older who were free of heart disease and prescribed a statin wound up with a 25% lower risk of death from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers reported July 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
web md - 9 hours ago
Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage  - web md

Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage

More than 70,000 U.S. women could be left without cost-free birth control after the Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration policy change that permits some employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage on religious or moral grounds.
web md - 16 hours ago
As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?  - web md

As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?

There are record numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with several states in the South and West driving the resurgence. Texas has closed its bars, California has closed its restaurants in some counties, and some beaches in Florida are closed.
web md - 6 days ago
MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments  - web md

MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments

A majority of just over 1,000 respondents said they used some type of alternative therapy, including marijuana, vitamins, herbs and minerals, plus mind-body therapies like exercise, mindfulness, massage and various diets.
web md - 6 days ago
Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus  - web md

Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus

United and American airlines, along with Southwest and Delta, require all passengers to wear cloth face masks or any high-tech masks while on the plane. American goes further by saying passengers must bring their own face masks and must comply with airport rules about wearing a mask.
web md - 1 week ago
An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?  - web md

An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?

A single injection of the experimental drug, called lenacapavir, was able to lower blood levels of HIV in a small group of patients. And it was capable of maintaining active levels in the blood for more than six months.
web md - 1 week ago
Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study  - web md

Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study

Black Americans who endure life-altering instances of discrimination are a third to a half more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who haven't been similarly traumatized, researchers report in the July 1 issue of the journal Hypertension.
web md - 1 week ago
Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges  - web md

Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges

Contact tracing, along with strategic testing, rapid isolation, and supportive quarantine, is an vital way of slowing the spread of the virus, which has been diagnosed in 2.6 million people nationwide and likely has infected millions more, say public health experts.
web md - 1 week ago
NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19  - web md

NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19

The NBA released its safety protocol this month with details for the upcoming return of the season, which gives a glimpse into what life will be like in the “bubble” -- an enclosed environment in Orlando, FL, where players will stay largely protected from potential infection.
web md - 1 week ago
Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad  - web md

Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad

In addition to promoting weight loss, so-called intermittent fasting may deliver a host of other surprising health benefits, from improved heart and brain health, to a lower risk of diabetes, and even a longer life, recent research shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
COVID Surges Among Young Adults  - web md

COVID Surges Among Young Adults

The spike among those age 20-39 could be explained by a combination of increased testing, rejection of social distancing and the use of masks and continued misconception among young people that they’re not as likely to becoming infected or become seriously ill.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps - harvard

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body generates an immune response against itself. Some people with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, develop an autoimmune lung disease. Marked by lung inflammation and possible scarring, it's easier to treat if detected early. The post Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 - positive sharing

Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken workplaces in so many ways. Remote work, social distancing, and staying home is the new normal. Companies are affected, and many of them switched to “survival mode”, trying to keep their business afloat. In the video above I talk to to visionary CEOs about how they handled the COVID-19 crisis … Continue reading Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 →
Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown  - web md

Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts have worried that social distancing and stay-at-home orders would lead to a surge in loneliness. But a new U.S. study suggests it has not played out that way.
web md - 2 weeks ago
C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk  - web md

C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk

Hospitalized patients infected with the dangerous diarrhea bug Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) face more than twice the risk of dying than hospitalized patients without the infection, a Dutch study shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain  - web md

How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain

During the pandemic, meat processing businesses appeared to be the weakest link throughout the food supply chain. Meat processing plants have been virus hot spots as workers have fallen ill with COVID-19, some of them dying.
web md - 2 weeks ago
People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives  - web md

People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives

HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults -- even if they're treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? - harvard

Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?

Coconut oil has been championed as having many benefits to health, but evidence to support these assertions remains sparse. However, there is far more evidence to support the benefits of olive oil, even in the context of typical American diets. The post Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? - harvard

Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what?

For many teens, summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps are probably on hold this year, and a sense of uncertainty hovers over nearly everything. How can parents guide teens and help them flourish while also keeping them safe? The post Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop - harvard

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop

“It’s a beautiful day outside,” you say, smiling. Your son replies, “It’s supposed to rain later.” You share, “That game was fun!” Your daughter adds, “I messed up one of my turns.” If you find that your child tends to channel Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh and has difficulty seeing some of the bright moments in a […] The post 4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

harvard - 4 months 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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