Welcome to my October news update with the pick of the most interesting stories in health and wellbeing over the last month. Please explore these new findings and be sure to share them with your friends, families and colleagues.
With warmest good wishes,
Dr Rosy Daniel
Exercise ‘Fundamental’ for Healing of Mental Illness
Thinking about skipping your workout because of a flat mood? If you’re upset, depressed or anxious, a recent study indicates that’s when you need exercise the most. It’s so effective for mental health, it may even speed healing for psychiatric patients. A study on physical exercise has shone a spotlight on the positive effects to be gained from deliberate, structured movement of your body. Published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine, the 2019 study was conducted by researchers from the University of Vermont Medical Center, in conjunction with the medical center’s inpatient psychiatry unit.
Researchers Develop New Metrics for Measuring Mental States During Meditation
In a recent proof-of-principle study, researchers developed a new framework, based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, to identify mental states during meditation, including the focus-on-breath state and mind wandering, and to estimate how much time meditators spend in each state. The study—partially funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health—was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
International Day of Clean Air for blue skies
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution to hold an International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on December 19, 2019, during its 74th session and invited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to facilitate the observance of the International Day, in collaboration with other relevant organizations. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) worked with UNEP and the Republic of Korea to advocate for the day in the lead up to the decision. WHO is working with BreatheLife partners to coordinate activities for the day.
Ten minutes of massage or rest will help your body fight stress
Allowing yourself a few minutes of downtime significantly boosts mental and physical relaxation. Research by psychologists at the University of Konstanz observed higher levels of psychological and physiological relaxation in people after only ten minutes of receiving a massage. Even ten minutes of simple rest increased relaxation, albeit to a lesser degree than massage. The findings, reported on 8 September 2020 in the journal Scientific Reports, provide the first indication that short-term treatments can robustly reduce stress on a psychological and physiological level by boosting the body’s principal engine for relaxation — the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
Lifestyle improvements may lessen cognitive decline
Results from a new study suggest that lifestyle changes may help to improve cognition in older adults experiencing cognitive decline that precedes dementia. In the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 119 individuals older than 65 years of age who were experiencing cognitive decline were randomised to a control group or an intervention group for 8 weeks. The control group received online information related to dementia and lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and cognitive engagement.
Is consciousness continuous or discrete? Maybe it’s both, argue researchers
Two major theories have fuelled a now 1,500 year-long debate started by Saint Augustine: Is consciousness continuous, where we are conscious at each single point in time, or is it discrete, where we are conscious only at certain moments of time? In an Opinion published September 3 in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, psychophysicists answer this centuries-old question with a new model, one that combines both continuous moments and discrete points of time.
To see lots more exciting news and evidence go to www.health-e-learning.org.uk and see the health-e-information platform.
Researcher – Sophie Daniel, Health and Wellbeing Trust
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