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Raising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health: Study

A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that kids and teens who are raised with religious or spiritual practices tend to have better health and mental health as they age. But not to worry if you’re not a service-attender. The research, published last week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that people who prayed or meditated on their own time also reaped similar benefits, including lower risk of substance abuse and depression later on.

The team looked at data from 5,000 people taking part in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study II and its next generation Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). They were interested in whether the frequency with which a child/teen attended religious services with their parents or prayed/meditated on their own was correlated with their health and mental health as they grew into their 20s. The young people were followed for anywhere from eight to 14 years.

It turned out that those who attended religious services at least once a week as children or teens were about 18% more likely to report being happier in their 20s than those who never attended services. They were also almost 30% more likely to do volunteer work and 33% less likely to use drugs in their 20s as well.

But what was interesting was that it wasn’t just about how much a person went to services, but it was at least as much about how much they prayed or meditated in their own time. Those who prayed or meditated every day also had more life satisfaction, were better able to process emotions, and were more forgiving compared to those who never prayed/meditated. They were also less likely to have sex at an earlier age and to have a sexually transmitted infection.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices,” said study author Ying Chen. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

Previous studies have suggested similar connections—for instance, that people who are more religious are often happier, and that people who believe in something greater than themselves are more resilient to stress. Other work has shown that in meditation and in prayer, the “me” centers of the brain—those that are active when you’re thinking self-referential worry-based thoughts—quiet down, and areas involved in perceiving the external world as “other” also deactivate. This might suggest that at least one way in which religion/spirituality benefits mental health is to reduce our tendency to think about ourselves and at the same time dissolve our sense of separateness.

And as most people know, there’s also a huge body of research showing what meditation itself does for the brain and for mental health, from reducing symptoms of depression to increasing attention and creativity. Additionally, other research has shown that experiencing awe, spending time in nature, and spending time in silence are all linked to greater happiness and well-being, through mechanisms that are very likely related to those in the current study.

One drawback of the new study was that although it tried to control for socioeconomic status and other confounding variables, most people in the study were white, female, and of higher socioeconomic status. The study would need to be repeated in a more diverse population to see whether the phenomenon holds for other demographics.

In the meantime, the research definitely hints that we might want to take a little time to meditate or pray, whatever that might look like for you. Even if you’re not religious in the classic sense, just observing something bigger than you—perhaps nature or the night sky—might tap into the same mechanism. Like many other studies, the new one also suggests that some of the fundamental habits that humans have been doing for eons (praying, meditating) might actually have a lot more value than we tend to think.


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Behind Your Rising Health-Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition

Last year, Cigna Corp. and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.

The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian,…

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Kevin Love Fund Launches, to Focus on Prioritizing Mental Health

Phil Long/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love announced Tuesday that he is launching the Kevin Love Fund, which will aim to make mental health a priority.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell tweeted the following about the initiative:

Love also appeared on Today Tuesday to further discuss his mission:

The establishment of Love’s fund comes on the heels of an article he wrote for The Players’ Tribune in March regarding his battle with anxiety and depression.

In that article, Love wrote about experiencing a panic attack during a game against the Atlanta Hawks last season.

Love said he began seeing a therapist after the panic attack, and he urged people to talk about their issues and seek help if they need it.

In July, Love was named to the B/R Power 50 list for smashing “the mental health taboo.”

ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reported in August that the National Basketball Players Association is trying to bring in a “comprehensive mental health policy,” but there have been sticking points. Among them is the opinion of some owners that they should be granted access to players’ medical files, but the league has said it would not be in favour of such a rule.

Love is among those who believe confidentiality should be non-negotiable because players could be dissuaded to seek help otherwise.

The 30-year-old Love is a five-time All-Star and one-time NBA champion who has consistently been among the NBA’s best big men throughout his career.

With LeBron James now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Love will shoulder much of the burden for the Cavs in their attempts to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

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UL-Lafayette research monkey found ‘in good health,’ university says

A monkey that escaped from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center over the weekend has returned to the center, according to the university on social media.

The UL-Lafayette Facebook page Sunday afternoon (Sept. 16) confirmed the young Rhesus macaque monkey was found and is back at the New Iberia Research Center. The monkey went through a thorough veterinary exam to ensure he was in good health, the university stated.

“The NIRC will keep him under veterinary observation for a few days before returning him to his social group,” reads the university’s Facebook post.

The UL-Lafayette Facebook page stated Sunday that staff at the New Iberia Research Center became aware the monkey was missing due to a cage failure on Saturday. The monkey, which weighs approximately 12 pounds, is part of a breeding group and carries no transmissible disease, UL-Lafayette stated.

UL-Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Center “specializes in the breeding, management and importation of a diverse range of nonhuman primate species,” according to the center’s website

. . . . . . .

Wilborn P. Nobles III is an education reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @WilNobles.

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Healthy seniors taking baby aspirin may be doing more harm than good

In healthy elderly people who never had a heart attack, the widespread practice of taking a baby Aspirin every day may do more harm than good, according to a U.S.-Australian study of more than 19,000 volunteers.

The trial has “provided convincing evidence that Aspirin is ineffective in preserving good health in elderly people without a medical [reason] to be using it,” chief author Dr. John J. McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne told Reuters Health in an email.

The results – which show that risks of major bleeding in low-dose Aspirin users overwhelm any heart benefits – were reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Paris.

The findings may upend a common practice.

The study ‘could not identify any subgroup in whom aspirin was beneficial in preserving good health.’ (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

For people trying to prevent a second heart attack or stroke, evidence in support of baby Aspirin therapy remains strong. But the new study, known as ASPREE, looked at the long-standing question of whether a first heart attack, stroke, or case of heart failure could be prevented with small amounts of the blood thinner in Aspirin.

Until now, the balance between risks and benefits in older individuals was unclear, said McNeil.

Most volunteers had to be at least 70 years old. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the U.S. – two groups that face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia – could be age 65 or older. At the start of the study, all were expected to survive for at least five years.

‘Should set the record straight’

After about five years of treatment, the rate of heart disease was not significantly lower in the 9,525 volunteers taking 100 mg of Aspirin daily than in the 9,589 who took placebo tablets.

But the odds of a major bleeding episode were 38 per cent higher with aspirin. Problems like stroke and intestinal bleeding occurred in 8.6 per cent of Aspirin patients versus 6.2 per cent of placebo patients.

“This should set the record straight,” said Dr. Vincent Bufalino of the Advocate Heart Institute in Chicago, who was not involved in the study. “There’s a lot of folks on both sides of this but this study should end the question. There is no benefit for seniors who do not have vascular disease.”

“I’ve spent the last five, six years trying to get all my seniors to stop taking Aspirin” based on the clear risks and unproven benefit, he told Reuters Health by phone. “If you look at the new findings, at best it’s neutral and at worst it increases the bleeding risk.”

And what about people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol who might be taking other medicines to mitigate a higher risk of heart attack or stroke? In the new study, most volunteers fell into that category and Aspirin didn’t seem to help them.

“Essentially, we could not identify any subgroup in whom Aspirin was beneficial in preserving good health,” Dr. McNeil said.

The ASPREE study was stopped early as it became clear that the “wonder drug” wasn’t working wonders.

While there were 21.5 cases of death, dementia or disability per 1,000 patients each year in the Aspirin group, the rate was 21.2 with placebo. The difference wasn’t statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.

But the rate of major bleeding with daily Aspirin use was 3.8 per cent, versus 2.8 per cent with placebo.

When the McNeil team looked at death from any cause, Aspirin still made no difference statistically, with a rate of 12.7 per 1,000 patients each year with Aspirin and 11.1 with placebo.

Extra cases of cancer were the chief reason for the higher death rate, with 3.1 per cent of Aspirin users dying of cancer versus 2.3 per cent in the control group.

The higher pace of cancer deaths became apparent 3½ years after the study began, particularly death from stomach and intestinal tumours.

The cancer finding surprised researchers because in other studies, Aspirin protected against death from cancer.

Thus, the McNeil team said, the cancer results “should be interpreted with caution.”

The study was coordinated at 34 sites in the U.S. and 16 in Australia.

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ASPREE trial explores whether low dose aspirin can prolong good health in elderly people – News

Posted in: Medical Research News | Medical Condition News | Healthcare News | Pharmaceutical News

Tags: Ageing, Angina, Aspirin, Bleeding, Cancer, Cancer Prevention, Disability, Doctor, Drugs, Epidemiology, Health Care, Healthcare, Heart, Heart Attack, Nursing, Placebo, Research, Stroke

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Adult Healthy Living Fair to be held September 21

WEST MONROE, La. (9/17/18) – Join the Glenwood Regional Medical Center for the Adult Healthy Living Fair on Friday September 21, 2018.

The fair will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Glenwood Medical Mall located at 102 Thomas Road in West Monroe, Louisiana.


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Healthy Living: Strokes in Teens

When 15-year-old John Beveridge suddenly passed out on the football field, coaches and players rushed to his side to help.

The reason for his sudden illness was something no one saw coming.

Courtney Hunter finds out what doctors discovered in Healthy Living.

The risk of stroke in children is 11 in 100,000 per year.

In some cases, the cause is sickle cell disease, immune disorders, or a heart defect, as with John.

Although strokes in kids aren’t common, parents are advised to be concerned if a teen suffers severe headaches, dizziness or extreme sleepiness.



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Healthy Living: Being A Dog Owner

It’s no secret that dog owners are more likely to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by walking their dogs.

But what other benefits can your pup bring you?

Katie Boomgaard shares some scientific ways that your dog is helping you out more than you know in Healthy Living. 

Thirty five percent of households do own a cat.

So if you are just not a dog person at all and prefer cats, cats do have some benefits.

A recent study from the University of Colorado found an interesting link.

If a person tested positive for a parasite found in cat feces, they were 1.8 times more likely to partake in risky behaviors like that of an entrepreneur than those who didn’t test positive.



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The top women’s health tips

Published Monday, Sep. 17, 2018, 8:37 am

Front Page » Business » The top women’s health tips

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Personal trainersLooking to lead a healthier lifestyle but don’t know what’s going to work for you? Worried that you wouldn’t have the time to work out at a gym? Don’t worry – all you need to do is to follow a simple health regimen, and the results will show.

Here is the thing – you cannot overlook your own health.

What can you do to ensure you get better health?

  • Focus on your daily routine and well-being.
  • Focus on improving your lifestyle
  • Ensure you look towards your health.

Taking care of your health involves everything from getting women’s vaccines as needed, as well as ensuring that you go in for annual well-woman exams. It just ensures that you have a regular check-up, and identify problems at the initial stage. However, the best way to keep yourself healthy is preventive care, which can happen only with the right changes in your lifestyle.

Major concerns of women’s health

When it comes to a woman health, you can experience any of the following:

  • A regular headache and joint pain
  • Having unusual lumps in the body
  • Irritation and inflammation in cloistered parts
  • Cardiac and blood pressure imbalance
  • Sunburn and skin agitation

The Top Tips to Help Get a Fitter More Healthy You

Here is a look at some of the few changes you can make in your lifestyle that can work wonders when it comes to getting better health.

  1. Follow a good diet plan

When it comes to diet for women, do not forget to add important substitute of veggies and fruits. As they are rich in fiber and protein which perfectly balance their system and boost their energy level. The habit of eating dry fruits and organic food full of nutrients will help to keep you lean and aligned.

  1. Get exercise each and every day in some way

Additionally, ladies need to include exercises in their everyday routine that helps them maintaining their physique and keeping their body in shape. Any regular exercise will enhance their inner strength and fitness. Also on top of those benefits, exercising increases confidence in yourself, giving you better self esteem.

Women with cardiac issues or irregular blood pressure can’t exercise (So check with your doctor) but still, they can go for walk, can do meditation or yoga, participate in laughter classes, these simple activities can reduce their heart-related issues and help them stay fit.

  1. Get Sleep

Another way, to combat stress and win. Is by getting a good night’s sleep.  Many illnesses and ailments are directly related to lack of good quality sleep. So be sure and go here for tips on sleeping well.

  1. Avoid risky habits

For a better health prospect, women need to avoid some of the nasty habits of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol to the extent, eating junk food, and staying up awake up for long. To add more health to our years, girls need to take their health as a major concern and follow the best hygiene as well.

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