Health in the New Year
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Gluten Free Recipe:
Baked Kabocha or Crustless "Pumpkin" Pie
2 cups roasted kabocha squash (4 Greens)
1/4 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk (1/4 Condiment)
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp maple or vanilla extract (1/2 Condiment)
1 packet NuStevia (1 Condiment)
28 Walnut halves (4 Snacks)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with non-stick foil. If the skin is too tough to cut, place kabocha in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half.
Spoon out all the seeds. You can cut or peel the skin off before baking, but I found it easier to peel after baking. Do whatever you prefer. Cut the squash into wedges. Lay the wedges on the prepared pan. Spray the wedges with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the squash over. Spray with cooking spray. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is cooked.
Once cooled, peel or cut off the skin with a knife. Normally I eat the skin when roasting but for this particular recipe, I like to remove the skin for a smoother richer taste.
Measure out 2 cups of cooked squash, without the skin. Use the rest of the squash for another time.
To make pies:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 4 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray ( or put in a pie dish). Add 2 cups of squash, without the skin, and the rest of the ingredients, except walnuts to the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove ramekins from oven and evenly distribute the walnuts on top of each ramekin. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.
Gluten Free Recipe:
3 eggs at room temp
3 tablespoons light cream cheese at room temp
A pinch or 1/16 tsp cream of tartar (you can use white vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute)
1 packet splenda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate egg whites from egg yolks, putting whites in one bowl and yolks in another bowl. Add cream of tartar (or vinegar or lemon juice) to whites. Beat whites on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Add cream cheese and splenda to yolks. Whisk yolk mixture until blended. Gently whisk yolk mixture into whites being careful to not over mix and make the whites fall. On a cookie sheet lined w/ parchment paper, make six equal sized blobs, not touching.
Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes (Mine cooked in 25 minutes). They are good warm, but awesome cold and can be toasted without problem! Freeze the left overs in plastic wrap or individual sandwich bags or keep them in the fridge for up to 5 daysin a large ziploc bag. Toast them to make them crispy again!
Makes 6 Rolls or 3 servings
Thursday, January 11, 2018
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Brain training shows promise for patients with bipolar disorder
October 16, 2017
|Researchers at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have discovered for the first time that computerized brain training can result in improved cognitive skills in individuals with bipolar disorder.|
In a paper published in the October 17, 2017, edition of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the researchers suggest that brain exercises could be an effective non-pharmaceutical treatment for helping those with bipolar disorder function more effectively in everyday life.
"Problems with memory, executive function, and processing speed are common symptoms of bipolar disorder, and have a direct and negative impact on an individual's daily functioning and overall quality of life," said lead investigator Eve Lewandowski, PhD, director of clinical programming for one of McLean's schizophrenia and bipolar disorder programs and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. "Improving these cognitive dysfunctions is crucial to helping patients with bipolar disorder improve their ability to thrive in the community," Lewandowski added.
Lewandowski and her colleagues knew from previous studies that this type of intervention had helped patients with schizophrenia improve cognitive functions. "There is considerable overlap in cognitive symptoms between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia," Lewandowski noted.
The researchers therefore decided to test the impact of brain exercises in the bipolar population. They randomly assigned patients with bipolar disorder, aged 18-50, to either an intervention group or an active comparison group (used as a control). The intervention group was asked to use a special regimen of neuroplasticity-based exercises from Posit Science -- maker of the BrainHQ online exercises and apps -- for a total of 70 hours over the course of 24 weeks. These exercises use a "bottom-up" approach, targeting more basic cognitive processes early in the treatment to strengthen cognitive foundations, then moving on to training focused on more complex cognitive functions later in the program. The control group was asked to spend an equivalent amount of time on computerized exercises that focused on quiz-style games, like identifying locations on maps, solving basic math problems, or answering questions about popular culture.
At the end of the study, the participants in the intervention group displayed significant improvements in their overall cognitive performance as well as in specific domains, such as cognitive speed, visual learning, and memory. "The intervention group maintained cognitive improvements six months after the end of the treatment, and in some areas even showed continued improvements," Lewandowski reported.
Lewandowski is encouraged by the findings, as they demonstrate that "this type of non-pharmaceutical intervention can significantly improve cognition in patients with bipolar disorder," she said. "These findings suggest that once the brain is better able to perform cognitive tasks, it will continue to strengthen those processes even after patients stop using the treatment." In addition, Lewandowski said, "The study indicates that affordable and easily accessible web-based interventions can be effective for a broad group of patients."
Lewandowski noted that further research is needed to determine how the improvements in these cognitive skills impact work and leisure activities and daily functioning in patients with bipolar disorder.
McLean Hospital. "Brain training shows promise for patients with bipolar disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171016132756.htm>.
Children uniquely vulnerable to sleep disruption from electronic screens
November 1, 2017
University of Colorado Boulder
|With their brains, sleep patterns, and eyes still developing, children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the sleep-disrupting effects of screen time, according to a sweeping review of the literature published today in the journal Pediatrics.|
"The vast majority of studies find that kids and teens who consume more screen-based media are more likely to experience sleep disruption," says first author Monique LeBourgeois, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. "With this paper, we wanted to go one step further by reviewing the studies that also point to the reasons why digital media adversely affects sleep."
Of more than five dozen studies looking at youths ages 5 to 17 from around the world, 90 percent have found that more screen time is associated with delayed bedtimes, fewer hours of sleep and poorer sleep quality, the authors report.
Biological, neurological and environmental factors all play a role:
Because their eyes are not fully developed, children are more sensitive than adults to the impact of light on the internal body clock, the paper notes.
"Light is our brain clock's primary timekeeper," LeBourgeois says, explaining that when light hits the retina in the eye in the evening hours it suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, delaying sleepiness and pushing back the timing of the body clock. "We know younger individuals have larger pupils, and their lenses are more transparent, so their exposure and sensitivity to that light is even greater than in older individuals."
The authors point to one study that found that when adults and school-age children were exposed to the same amount and intensity of light, the children's melatonin levels fell twice as much. Studies have also shown that short-wavelength "blue light" -- ubiquitous in hand-held electronics -- is particularly potent at suppressing melatonin.
"Through the young eyes of a child, exposure to a bright blue screen in the hours before bedtime is the perfect storm for both sleep and circadian disruption," LeBourgeois says.
The "psychological stimulation" of digital media -- whether it's exposure to violent media or texting with friends -- can also sabotage sleep by boosting cognitive arousal, the authors note.
The authors also note that children and adolescents who leave a phone or computer on overnight in their bedroom are significantly more likely to have trouble sleeping. More than 75 percent of youths have screen-based media in their bedrooms, 60 percent interact with them in the hour before bedtime, and 45 percent use their phones as an alarm.
"Digital Media and Sleep in Childhood and Adolescence" is one of 22 papers included in todays' first-ever supplemental issue of Pediatrics to focus on screen time and youth health. In addition to summarizing past research, the papers set goals for future research, including looking at the impact of screen time on toddlers and preschoolers.
"The digital media landscape is evolving so quickly, we need our research to catch up just to answer some basic questions," says Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra, founder of the nonprofit Children and Screens, which helped orchestrate the issue.
A recent report from Commonsense Media showed mobile media device use has tripled among young children since 2011, with kids under 8 using them 48 minutes per day and many parents incorporating digital media into the bedtime routine.
This summer, LeBourgeois launched a five-year, $2.5 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health, in which her research team goes into the homes of volunteer families, exposes children to varying intensities of light and collects saliva samples to measure changes in melatonin levels and the timing of the biological clock.
Ultimately, she believes the study will reveal how little light it takes to impact sleep and circadian rhythms in young children and lead to science-based guidelines for parents and device-makers.
"The preschool years are a very sensitive time of development during which use of digital media is growing more and more pervasive," she says. "There's a lot we don't know."
Other authors include Lameese Akacem, University of Colorado Boulder; Orfeu Buxton and Anne-Marie Chang, Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State; Lauren Hale, from the Department of Family, Population and Preventative Medicine at Stony Brook Medicine; and Hayley Montgomery-Downs, from the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University.
LeBourgeois offers these recommendations for parents:
University of Colorado Boulder. "Children uniquely vulnerable to sleep disruption from electronic screens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171101130549.htm>.
- Limit children's media use in the hour before bedtime.
- Turn off all electronic media devices, including yours, at bedtime, and charge them in a central location outside bedrooms.
- Remove all electronic media from your child or teen's bedroom, including TVs, video games, computers, tablets, and cell phones.
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|A small pilot study has indicated that neurofeedback - where patients concentrate on modifying their own brainwave patterns - has potential to treat many of the 100m people worldwide who suffer from Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). This is the first time that neurofeedback has been shown to improve both individual symptoms and overall recovery in TRD.|
According to the World Health Organization, "Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide", with over 300m people suffering globally. There are treatments for depression, but up to a third of people don't respond to treatment, even after trying different antidepressants. This is Treatment-resistant depression (TRD). For these patients, there are limited options.
Now a new pilot study from Korea indicates that neurofeedback may be offer a viable treatment to patients suffering from TRD, if used with antidepressants. Working with 12 patients with TRD and 12 controls, the researchers put patients through 12 weeks regular training sessions, where the patients learned how to vary their brainwaves in response to audio and visual signals.
In past research, different brainwaves have been shown to be associated with different moods and brain states, so these patients were asked to concentrate on changing the levels of particular types of brainwaves as they were displayed on a computer screen. On each visit, patients received beta/sensorimotor rhythm training for 30 min, and then alpha/theta training for 30 min. Psychological progress was measured using various standard depression questionnaires at the start of the treatment, then at 1, 4 and 12 weeks. These questionnaires showed how treatment affected such factors as interpersonal relationships, work ability, and family life.
The researchers found that in the neurofeedback group, 8 of the 12 patients responded to treatment, and 5 of those responded well enough to be classified as being in remission. Most of these patients are now under long-term observation to see if remission has continued. In contrast the control group did not show significant improvement from baseline after 12 weeks.
Project leader, Professor Eun-Jin Cheon (Yeungnam University Hospital, South Korea), said:
"Neurofeedback has been trialed with psychological conditions in the past, but as far as we know this is the first time that anyone has succeeded in achieving remission and overall recovery (functional recovery)with treatment-resistant depression. This is particularly important, because this is an otherwise untreatable group of patients.
In our study we included patients with major depressive disorder, who still had residual symptoms and functional impairment despite receiving antidepressant treatment. Our results suggested that neurofeedback might be an effective complementary treatment to make patients feel well again and successfully engage with life. The most promising thing about neurofeedback is it doesn't cause even mild side effects. It could also improve self-efficacy by participating active, voluntary treatment.
We need to emphasize that this is a small study - if you like, it's still at the level of clinical science rather than clinical treatment, so we are a long way from this finding its way into the clinic. But the results surprised us, it merits further investigation"
Commenting, Henricus G Ruhe, MD, PhD, (Department of Psychiatry Radboudumc, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and member of the ECNP Scientific Advisory Panel) said:
"This is a very interesting study targeting remaining depressive symptoms in patients who insufficiently responded to previous treatment trials of antidepressants. Although the number of included patients are small (12 treated with neurofeedback vs. 12 controls) we should consider this pilot study as promising and suggesting that alternative approaches (relative to antidepressants) might be beneficial in nonresponding depressed patients.
Further work is needed to both replicate these results and compare this strategy with alternative treatment options (e.g. psychotherapy or additional pharmacotherapeutic steps). This will enable the community to determine where neurofeedback must be positioned and/or when it should be recommended in future guidelines".
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Friday, January 19
Monday, January 22
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