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Links 1 through 10 of 19 by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D. tagged health

Studies show that there are detrimental effects on the health of older people when their control of their activities is restricted; in contrast, interventions that enhance options for control by nursing home patients promote health.

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On the value of insight in therapy, beginning with a patent with lots of self-knowledge but little improvement. "Was this because his self-knowledge was flawed or incomplete? Or is insight itself, no matter how deep, of limited value? Psychoanalysts and other therapists have argued for years about this question, which gets to the heart of how therapy works (when it does) to relieve psychological distress. Theoretical debates have not settled the question, but one interesting clue about the possible relevance of insight comes from comparative studies of different types of psychotherapy — only some of which emphasize insight. In fact, when two different types of psychotherapies have been directly compared — and there are more than 100 such studies — it has often been hard to find any differences between them.... It even makes you wonder whether a little self-delusion is necessary for happiness."

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"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless," says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher. Many recent studies have found that exercise isn't as important in helping people lose weight as you hear.... The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.... [In a recent study] women who exercised... did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms.)... Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each.

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Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it's long been recognized that city life is exhausting -- that's why Picasso left Paris -- this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

"The mind is a limited machine,"says Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of a new study that measured the cognitive deficits caused by a short urban walk. "And we're beginning to understand the different ways that a city can exceed those limitations."

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"[T]his year's pollen counts, especially in the southeast, are through the roof, and... a new study from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) suggests allergies will likely become even more fierce if the planet continues to heat up. Researchers found that not only is spring coming earlier, making for a longer allergy season, but warmer weather allows hickory and oak, two of the most allergenic tree species, to thrive almost everywhere in the US. Another factor: Some plants, such as ragweed, are actually making more pollen as the environment changes. "As trees that use the wind to pollinate undergo stress from heat or lack of water, they begin to produce more pollen to compensate," explained NWF climate scientist Amanda Staudt. Scientists have already observed this phenomenon in cities, where C02 levels are an average of 30 percent higher than in suburbs and rural areas. "Cities are where we’re seeing increased pollen production," explains Demain.

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"A mindful eater is nonjudgmental, compassionate and above all aware of the taste, texture and process of eating. Being mindful means knowing exactly how your body feels at all times. You are so closely in touch with what is going on inside that you know the exact moment you are satisfied rather than stuffed or starving by learning the why, what, when and how you eat."

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Here you will learn the basics of approaching food with mindfulness. The method used here is the CAMP System--a new, powerful and different approach to food relationships and weight management. Using mindfulness in all aspects of eating, the CAMP System focuses on how you eat, not what you eat.

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The Center for Mindful Eating "is a forum for professionals across all disciplines interested in developing, deepening and understanding the value and importance of mindful eating. TCME provides a wide variety of resources and training for those seeking up-to-date information about mindful eating practices, research, and education.... Mindful eating draws substantially on the use of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness helps focus our attention and awareness on the present moment, which in turn, helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Engaging in mindful eating meditation practices on a regular basis can help us discover a far more satisfying relationship to food and eating than we ever imagined or experienced before. A different kind of nourishment often emerges, the kind that offers satisfaction on a very deep emotional level."

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"[C]an an old brain learn, and then remember what it learns? Put another way, is this a brain that should be in school? As it happens, yes. While it’s tempting to focus on the flaws in older brains, that inducement overlooks how capable they’ve become. Over the past several years, scientists have looked deeper into how brains age and confirmed that they continue to develop through and beyond middle age. Many longheld views, including the one that 40 percent of brain cells are lost, have been overturned. What is stuffed into your head may not have vanished but has simply been squirreled away in the folds of your neurons.

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