Browse By

Monthly Archives: July 2016

Could I Have Adrenal Fatigue?

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

yawning-tired-blueshirt
Getty Images

Q: I keep reading about a problem called “adrenal fatigue.” How can I tell if I have it?

A: Well, theres some debate as to whether this even exists. There is a condition called adrenal insufficiency, or Addisons disease, in which your adrenal glands dont produce enough hormones, and youre left feeling extremely fatigued—even light-headed and achy. A blood test can diagnose this. Adrenal fatigue, on the other hand, is a catchall term used to describe a milder form of insufficiency that cant be detected by blood tests. The symptoms linked to it include aches, nervousness, and sleep and digestive problems, in addition to fatigue. But it isnt a recognized medical diagnosis, and for good reason: Theres no scientific proof that slightly low levels of the hormones produced by your adrenal glands, such as cortisol, cause these symptoms. If you feel inexplicably tired, see your doctor to find out if its a sign of a real health issue, such as a thyroid problem or depression.

 

 

 

No Thumbnail

Got Ringing in Your Ears? Here's How to Cope With Tinnitus

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

You might be the only one who can hear the ringing in your ears, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. A new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery found that 1 in 10 adults suffers from tinnitus, or the perception of noise that isn't actually there.

For some people it's a high-pitched buzz. Others might hear a low roar, hissing, or clicking. Tinnitus may come and go, or never stop. And doctors may never determine the exact cause of the symptom.

It can be triggered by anything from a buildup of earwax or a very loud concert to a blood vessel disorder or age-related hearing loss. Even some antidepressants and other meds can trigger a phantom noise.

Unfortunately for most chronic cases, there's no cure, as the American Tinnitus Association points out. But there are steps you can take to manage the symptom. For tips on coping with the ringing, we tapped Sarah Mowry, MD, an assistant professor and member of the Ear, Nose & Throat Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Here, Dr. Mowry's tips for anyone bothered by the noise.

Mask it

If you're having trouble concentrating or resting, turn on some white noise. You could use a sound machine, a fan, or even the TV at low volume. “These help your brain suppress the [phantom] noise so it’s less bothersome,” Dr. Mowry explains. 

RELATED: 7 Best White Noise Machines for a Good Night's Sleep

Try to de-stress

Tinnitus can actually be a sign from your body that it's time to take a breather, says Dr. Mowry. “My patients will say they’re not sure why [their tinnitus is] so bad today, and then it turns out they’re stressed and not sleeping,” says Dr. Mowry. When you put stress management techniques into practice (like breathing exercises, or gentle stretching before bed), you may find that you don't notice the noise as much.

Consider biofeedback

If your usual tension-busting measures don’t help, you might want to look into biofeedback therapy, in which you learn to control your body's physical reaction to stress. Dr. Mowry compares some cases of tinnitus to phantom pain (or sensation perceived in a body part that's been amputated); when a patient is suffering from tinnitus from hearing loss, she explains, it may be that "their brain is trying to fill in missing information" with the phantom noise. "For those patients, we do a lot of biofeedback," she says.

Or tinnitus retraining therapy

A combination of biofeedback, psychotherapy, and music therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is another option for patients who are struggling to live with the noise, says Dr. Mowry. It can be difficult to find a practitioner, she warns, and may not be covered by your insurance plan. But when nothing else has worked, TRT can make a world of difference.

Join up

It may be helpful to connect with others who are dealing with the same problem, Dr. Mowry points out. By attending meetings of a tinnitus support group, not only will you realize you're not alone, but you'll be able to share coping strategies with the people you meet. 

RELATED: 15 Everyday Sounds and How They Affect Your Hearing

Protect your ears

“Tinnitus gets worse as hearing loss gets worse,” explains Dr. Mowry, which means it's really important to protect your ears when you know you'll be exposed to loud noise. Dr. Mowry recommends taking precautions such as wearing earplugs when you blow dry your hair (seriously!) or go to a concert. Research suggests earplugs really do help: A study published last month found that only 12% of concert-goers who wore them experienced ringing in their ears afterwards, compared to 40% of people who didn't use ear protection.

No Thumbnail

This Is What Happens in Your Brain When You’re Hypnotized

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

THURSDAY, July 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Skeptics view hypnosis as a little-understood parlor trick, but a new study reveals real changes occur in the brain when a person enters an hypnotic state.

Some parts of the brain relax during the trance while others become more active, said study senior author Dr. David Spiegel, associate chair of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“I hope this study will demonstrate that hypnosis is a real neurobiological phenomenon that deserves attention,” Spiegel said. “We haven’t been using our brains as well as we can. It’s like an app on your iPhone you haven’t used before, and it gets your iPhone to do all these cool things you didn’t know it could do.”

Hypnosis was the first Western form of psychotherapy, but little is known about how it actually works, the authors say.

Hoping to learn more, Spiegel and his colleagues selected 57 people for this study out of a pool of 545 potential participants. Thirty-six of the 57 displayed a high level of hypnotic susceptibility, while the other 21 did not appear to be very hypnotizable.

Using MRI, researchers measured the subjects’ brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Each was scanned while resting, when recalling a memory, and when exposed to a message intended to induce a hypnotic trance.

People highly susceptible to hypnosis experienced three distinct brain changes while hypnotized that weren’t present when they were out of the trance, the study reports. These changes weren’t detected in the brains of those with low hypnotic capability.

People in a trance experienced a decrease in activity in an area called the dorsal anterior cingulate, part of what’s called the brain’s salience network. “It helps us compare context and decide what is worth worrying about and what isn’t,” Spiegel said.

Hypnotized people also experienced an increase in connections between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insula. The prefrontal cortex helps us plan and carry out tasks, while the insula helps the mind connect with the body.

“In hypnosis, we know you can alter things like gastric acid secretion, heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductance,” Spiegel said. “Your brain is very good at controlling what’s going on in your body, and the insula is one of the pathways that does that.”

Finally, people in hypnosis also have reduced connections between the task-oriented dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the brain’s default mode network, a region most active when a person is daydreaming rather than focusing on the outside world.

This decrease in connectivity likely represents a disconnect between someone’s actions and their awareness of their actions, Spiegel said. Such a disassociation allows the hypnotic subject to engage in activities suggested by a hypnotist without becoming self-conscious of the activity.

Taken together, these brain changes match well-known outward effects caused by hypnosis, Spiegel said.

A hypnotized person is intensely focused but not worried about what they’re doing. They are not worried about evaluating instructions, but are simply following those instructions, and they have a more direct connection between their minds and the physical function of their bodies, he noted.

“This is the first time that we’ve shown what’s going on in the brain when a person is hypnotized,” Spiegel said. “This is a natural and normal brain function. It’s a technique that has evolved to enable us to do the routine things routinely, and deeply engage in the things that matter to us.”

Based on this knowledge, doctors might be able to enhance hypnotic response in ways that better help treat medical conditions, he said. Already, hypnosis has been proven to help people quit smoking or cope with pain and stress, the authors noted.

This study provides “important evidence” that could help convince skeptical patients of hypnosis’ potential benefits, said Guy Montgomery, who specializes in integrative behavioral medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed.

“Hypnosis has been around for a long time, but people have looked upon it as quackery,” Manevitz said. “This demonstrates it’s a legitimate neurobiological phenomenon, by revealing the brain activity that underlies the hypnotic state.”

However, Montgomery added that it will take further research to make this specific knowledge directly useful in daily medicine.

“How would I use this information to enhance procedures for patients?” he said. “I don’t really know.”

The study appears July 28 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

More information

For more on hypnosis, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

No Thumbnail

Vietnamese Mango & Chicken Pizz’alad

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

Vietnamese Mango & Chicken Pizz’alad Recipe
Vietnamese Mango & Chicken Pizz’alad
This sweet-spicy salad pizza recipe tops a crisp pizza crust with a salad of crunchy cabbage, mango and chicken tossed with a Vietnamese-inspired dressing made with fish sauce and lime juice. Be sure to serve the pizza right after you add the salad on top to keep the crust from becoming soggy. Using bread flour gives the pizza crust a crisp and sturdy structure, but all-purpose flour works well in its place. For a gluten-free pizza crust variation, see Tips.


No Thumbnail

Can Virtual Reality Meditation Get You Closer to Mindfulness? I Tried It to Find Out

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

I’ve been meditating, off and on, for the past 14 years. The technique I learned in meditation class many years ago is old-school and austere: Find a place to sit, close your eyes, feel your feet on the floor, and focus on the in-and-out breath at the tip of your nose. No music, no mantras, just the moment-by-moment struggle of bringing your attention back to breathing every time your mind wanders away (which is just about every time you breathe). The point, and the challenge, is to train your mind to let go of distraction, to detach from thoughts, to simply “be here now.” 

Mindfulness meditation is a welcome (some say necessary) respite from the hustle and stress of modern life, and from the incessant pings, buzzes, and chimes of personal technology.

So I was intrigued when I received an invitation from the folks at Oculus, the virtual reality shop at Facebook, to test out the latest application for this booming technology: guided meditation. I wondered: If being mindful requires disengaging from the diversions of modern life, can we truly meditate while mind-melding with state-of-the-art computer processing power? Is it possible to “be here now” if that “here” is a digitally-synthesized someplace else?

At Oculus’ pop-up showroom in New York City, I was first given a quick tour of the capabilities of their high-end Rift system.  I was menaced by a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex (cowering in virtual terror as the beast stomped past/through me) and dropped onto the ledge of an 80-story Times Square skyscraper (dropping reflexively to hands and knees and crawling backwards to safety). 

RELATED: A Meditation to Start Your Day

After the stress test warm up, I strapped on the Samsung Gear VR, for a downshift into Oculus’ meditation offerings.

The Guided Meditation VR app, developed by Cubicle Ninjas, gives you a choice of environment, voiceover, and chill-out music. I picked a fall foliage setting called "Autumnshade" to start, and the "Relaxation" audio track. 

The 360-degree view was splendid: Crisp brown leaves floated from trees between shafts of golden sunlight. In the narration, an English woman likened our thoughts to hummingbirds, and indeed, my mind was flitting from voice to scene (with multiple perspectives available at the push of a button) and back again, with nary a thought of my breath.

I switched to a tropical seaside setting ("Costa del Sol"), with waves sloshing on the shore, then toggled again to an icy mountain ("Snow Peak"): Blood red sky reflected in an iridescent blue lake. Somewhere behind me I heard a crunching sound, like the calving of icebergs (or the footfall of a hungry snow leopard). Each time I picked a new setting, the device asked me to press my finger to a sensor to measure my heart rate, part of the app's biofeedback feature. I started out around 76 beats per minute, and hovered in that range throughout the experience.

RELATED: Wait, Congress Has a Meditation Guru?

I shifted one last time to a sunny bamboo grove ("Hanna Valley"), leaves swaying in a gentle breeze, a pagoda in the near distance. There was even a pudgy panda dozing on the rocks behind me to add to the snoozy vibe.

Now that I’d found a calm setting, I turned on the lulling “Loving Compassion” voiceover, which was much more conducive to  relaxation than the hummingbird talk, and more in keeping with my own experience practicing loving-kindness meditation. A voice urged me to think about a loved one with the following recitation:

May you be safe / May you be peaceful / May you be healthy / May you live with ease and wellbeing.

Good food for thought, yet I still found myself dazzled by the scenery, looking out and around rather than inward.

My Oculus friends urged me to try another app, so I dove into Perfect Beach, developed by nDreams, which offers a choice of four seaside views with an audio track. The most interesting feature here is that the app lets you select a lower torso (customizable by sex and skin tone) as part of your view, presumably to help you locate your floating head in the VR space. That idea makes sense, given that groundedness is one of the starting points of most any meditation practice, though I found it gave me yet one more thing to look at: undulating waves throwing flecks of golden sun, plus a pair of nicely tanned legs and muscular pecs, just below my line of sight. 

RELATED: Meditation Might Work Better than Painkillers for Chronic Low Back Pain

After an admittedly brief tour, I yanked off the headset and defogged my glasses. The verdict: Is virtual reality immersive?  Of course. Diverting? For sure. Is it relaxing? It would be, if you had enough time to steep in the experience.

Is it meditative? That's a tough one, and it depends on one’s definition of meditation. If by “meditation” you mean getting outside of yourself for a few minutes to zone out, decompress, and escape, then virtual reality would do the trick. If you’re new to meditation, and don’t have access to a class or a teacher, and you’re looking to learn some of the basics of a guided practice like loving-kindess, an app like Guided Meditation VR (as a kind of jacked-up audio program) would help.

But if you’re trying to meditate in the more orthodox, hard-way-in style—to tune in rather than out; to be here, right now; to wake up into reality—you run into something of a conundrum. It seems that a technology that pries your eyes and ears wide open to absorb as much sensory input as possible is working at cross-purposes with a discipline that asks you to forgo distraction, to close your eyes and direct your attention inward.

RELATED: Memory Failing You? Study Suggests Meditation May Help

Oculus’ VR meditation is a fun trip, no doubt, but if I could design a setting, it might look and sound like the classroom where I first learned how to sit: careworn wood floors, mismatched chairs, a rattling air conditioner, with a teacher at the front of the room offering terse instruction and then… silence.  Maybe this dazzling technology, confident enough in its verisimilitude, could also be humble enough to slip into the background, so you'd have no qualms about missing out if you just closed your eyes, and tuned in to the real.

No Thumbnail

Turkey Sausage & Peppers Burger

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

Turkey Sausage & Peppers Burger Recipe
Turkey Sausage & Peppers Burger
If you love the classic flavors of the Italian sausage and peppers sandwich, this healthy burger recipe, inspired by that flavor combination, is for you. If you don’t have a grill basket, fold a 24-inch piece of heavy-duty foil in half and crimp up the edges to create a lip; this will prevent the vegetables from sliding through the grill rack.

No Thumbnail

One Big Interviewing Mistake You Should Try to Avoid

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

Say you’re in the running for your dream job, but it’s on the other side of the country. The higher-ups call you for a final interview, and give you a choice: You can video conference in, or fly out to meet with them face-to-face.

You might be tempted to choose the easier option that doesn’t involve travel or additional expenses. But it may be wise to make the trip: A new study suggests that in-person interviews tend to leave better impressions on both the hiring company and the candidate.

“We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that personal interactions should never be underestimated,” study co-author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at the George Washington University’s Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, said in a press release. Blacksmith and her colleagues wanted to see how tools like telephone and video interviewing might affect overall decision making, so they analyzed the findings of 12 studies published between 2000 and 2007.

Their results, published Monday in the journal Personnel Assessment and Decisions, found that overall, technology-mediated interviews resulted in lower ratings—for both parties involved—than face-to-face interviews. Video interviews received the most negative rankings, followed by telephone and computer interviews.

Initially, the researchers assumed that these differences would have lessened over the years, as people became more accustomed to technology in the workplace. But they were surprised to find the opposite: The ratings were actually more negative in the later research. (They do point out, however, that even the most recent study took place seven years ago.)

“Considering the rate at which technology has changed, it is clear that we lack understanding of the modern interview,” the authors wrote.

Senior author Tara Behrend, PhD, director of the Workplaces and Virtual Environments Lab at George Washington University, says the study was not able to determine what, exactly, was wrong with technology-mediated interviews—but does offer a guess.

“On the phone I can’t shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes, wink, or nod my head to show that I understand,” she told RealSimple.com. “That means that the interviewer can easily misinterpret something I say.”

On top of that, she says, taking turns is harder in a video or phone setting. “The chance of accidentally interrupting the interviewer would be much higher,” says Behrend. “If you’re afraid of interrupting, then you might have a long awkward pause instead. Neither option is going to give the perception that you are a strong communicator.”

It’s also difficult to engage in what Behrend calls “impression management”—doing things to make the interviewer like you—when you’re not face-to-face with them. You might not be able to make friendly small talk or show that you’re attentive by smiling and sitting up straight if you’re on the phone or staring into a webcam, she says.

The problem is, many interviewees aren’t given a choice as to what kind of meeting they’ll have. If a company holds all of its interviews for a certain position the same way, the study authors say, then no one has an unfair advantage. But if some candidates are given in-person interviews and others aren’t, results are likely to be skewed. In fact, the study concludes, these findings could potentially open up companies with such hiring practices to lawsuits.

Behrend says that an important next step is finding a way to improve perceptions in video interactions. “There is plenty of popular advice out there about how to do well in a Skype interview,” she says. “For example, making eye contact is very tough online. But, you can configure your computer so that ‘eye contact’ with the camera happens more naturally.” (You can find our expert tips for acing a video interview—and other smart interview tips—here).

She hopes that by studying tips and techniques like these, researchers can help level the playing field—and give remote interviewers gain back a bit of their lost advantage.

 

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

No Thumbnail

Does Dementia Diagnosis Have Silver Lining for Some?

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Is it possible that a diagnosis as devastating as dementia could have some positive effects?

Yes, a small study suggests.

Researchers asked 48 people with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment to complete a questionnaire that measured their quality of life and personal outlook after getting their diagnosis.

The “Silver Lining Questionnaire” was designed to measure how much patients believe their illness has a positive impact in areas such as: relationships, appreciation for life, positive influence on others, inner strength and life philosophy.

The questionnaire has been used before with cancer patients. But, this was the first time it was used with dementia/mild cognitive impairment patients, the researchers said.

“The overall assumption is that this diagnosis would have a uniformly negative impact on a patient’s outlook on life, but we were surprised to find that almost half of respondents reported positive scores,” said study author Dr. Gregory Jicha, a professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky.

The patients in the study had high scores on areas such as: appreciation and acceptance of life; less concern about failure; self-reflection, tolerance of others, and courage to face problems in life; stronger relationships and new opportunities to meet people.

“The common stereotype for this type of diagnosis is depression, denial and despair,” Jicha said in a university news release.

“However, this study — while small — suggests that positive changes in attitude are as common as negative ones,” he said.

The study was to be presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The next phase in this research is to determine the factors that led some dementia patients to see the positive in their diagnosis. That information can likely be used to help other patients, the researchers said.

More information

The Alzheimer’s Association has more on dementia.

No Thumbnail

Transgender's Classification as 'Mental Disorder' Is Outdated, Study Finds

www.judgeweightloss.com

The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Being transgender is currently classified as a mental health disorder in the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases (ICD), but a new study suggests that should change.

And, such a change wouldn’t be without precedent. The American Psychiatric Association removed gender identity disorder from the latest edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

For the new study, Mexican researchers interviewed 250 transgender people.

The researchers found levels of distress were more strongly influenced by social rejection and violence than by being transgender.

Seventy-six percent said they suffered social rejection due to being transgender. This rejection most often came from family members, followed by schoolmates/co-workers and friends, the study showed.

Nearly two-thirds were victims of violence due to their gender identity, the researchers found.

Family members were responsible for nearly half of the cases of violence. The most common types of violence were mental and physical violence. Some of those surveyed reported sexual violence, the study revealed.

This study is the first of its kind, the researchers said. Others are now being conducted in Brazil, France, India, Lebanon and South Africa, the researchers added.

Findings from the study were published July 26 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

“Stigma associated with both mental disorder and transgender identity has contributed to the precarious legal status, human rights violations and barriers to appropriate care among transgender people,” study senior author Geoffrey Reed said in a journal news release. Reed is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“The definition of transgender identity as a mental disorder has been misused to justify denial of health care and contributed to the perception that transgender people must be treated by psychiatric specialists, creating barriers to health care services,” he said.

Reed said some governments have used the definition of transgender as a mental health disorder in courts to deny people their rights in matters of child custody, reproduction and changing legal documents.

Study lead investigator Rebeca Robles said, “Our findings support the idea that distress and dysfunction may be the result of stigmatization and maltreatment, rather than integral aspects of transgender identity.” Robles is from the Mexican National Institute of Psychiatry.

She said these findings need to be confirmed with additional studies before the next approval of the revision of the WHO International Classification of Diseases in 2018.

“Rates of experiences related to social rejection and violence were extremely high in this study, and the frequency with which this occurred within participants’ own families is particularly disturbing,” Robles said.

“Unfortunately, the level of maltreatment experienced in this sample is consistent with other studies from around the world. This study highlights the need for policies and programs to reduce stigmatization and victimization of this population. The removal of transgender diagnoses from the classification of mental disorders can be a useful part of those efforts,” she concluded.

More information

For more about transgender issues, visit GLAAD.

default-poup