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Daily Archives: December 11, 2016

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‘Female Viagra’ Doesn’t Work Very Well: Study

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The so-called “female Viagra” drug isn’t showing impressive results, suggests a new study published inJAMA Internal Medicine.

Last August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug flibanserin to treat low sexual desire in premenopausal women. The drug was the first to be given the green light for treatment of the condition in women, called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD. Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a review on flibanserin to see how safe and effective it was, analyzing eight clinical trials in all: five published and three unpublished. Even though the studies in total looked at almost 6,000 women, the researchers caution that the quality of evidence is “very low”: the studies weren’t very detailed, they write, and the drug looked better in the findings of published studies compared to studies that were not published.

RELATED: See How ‘Female Viagra’ Works

According to the results, the drug didn’t enhance most women’s sex life all that much, nor did it meaningfully increase the frequency of their sexual encounters. Taking the drug was associated with just one-half of an additional satisfying sexual event each month. It was also linked to a higher risk of sleepiness, dizziness, fatigue and nausea.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures flibanserin under the name Addyi, provided a statement from the company’s Chief Medical OfficerTage Ramakrishna, MD, saying that trials to secure FDA approval showed a statistically significant increase in satisfying sex. It is crucial that women suffering from HSDD are able to speak to their physicians about the full range of options—including medical treatment—to manage this serious and well-established condition,” Ramakrishna says. “Analyses such as the one published in JAMA Internal Medicine, by omitting context and downplaying the importance of increased sexually satisfying events to those with HSDD, makes that conversation more difficult.”

More research is needed, the authors of the study say. “The data presented in this review suggest that the meaningful change caused by flibanserin is minimal,” they write.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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18 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes That Basically Cook Themselves

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When you spend all day at work or running errands, it can be pretty intimidating to cook a decent meal and squeeze in some exercise. But healthy living doesn’t have to mean spending every spare second in the kitchen or gym! These nutritious slow-cooker recipes can be prepped ahead of time so there’s a hot meal ready whenever you are. Whether you have a hard time carving out time for breakfast or spend your entire evening preparing dinner, these healthy recipes are worth trying — they basically cook themselves!

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Want to Live Longer? Plant Some Greenery, Study Suggests

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THURSDAY, April 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Women living in homes surrounded by lots of trees and vegetation may have a lower risk of death than those in areas with less greenery, a new study suggests.

Researchers sifted through data on more than 108,000 women across the United States. The information was collected between 2000 and 2008.

The researchers found that women living in the greenest surroundings had a 12 percent lower risk of death than those in the least green locations. The study also found that women with the most vegetation around their homes had a 34 percent lower rate of respiratory disease-related death. And women living with lush vegetation had a 13 percent lower rate of cancer death than those with the least green surroundings, the study reported.

Although the study found associations between living in greener areas and living longer, it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

“We were surprised to observe such strong associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower [death] rates,” said study author Peter James, a research associate at Harvard T.S. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

“We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large proportion of the benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be connected with improved mental health,” he said in a school news release.

The researchers said that better mental health was observed through lower levels of depression. Other elements that may be involved in the benefits of greenery include more opportunities for socializing, more physical activity and less exposure to air pollution, the study authors said.

The study was published online April 14 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about women’s mental health.


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What It's Really Like to Lose Over 25 Pounds

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By the middle of my sophomore year of college, I was in the worst physical shape of my life. A mix of drinking, the freedom to eat whatever and whenever I pleased, and my mom’s cancer prognosis led to rapid weight gain and plummeting self-confidence. Every day I dragged myself to class wearing shapeless, oversize clothing, and avoided eye contact with my peers — I was genuinely unhappy with my appearance. The weight wasn’t just burdening my body; it was affecting my mind as well. I felt intense anxiety and self-consciousness, and social situations that I used to flourish in became intimidating and difficult to maneuver.

My rock bottom

One night when I was getting ready for a friend’s birthday dinner, I realized the extent of my dissatisfaction. As I thumbed through my closet feeling uninspired by every article of clothing, I realized that style, something I had always cherished, no longer excited me. It felt out of reach. I was not comfortable with the body I was dressing, and that realization was enough for me to begin making major lifestyle changes immediately.

I first had to accept that losing weight wasn’t going to be an easy task, and that was why it was going to be worth it. Working toward anything takes unwavering willpower, strength, and sacrifice: weight loss was no different. Once I decided I wanted to change, a game-plan fell into place. Step 1: I assessed my habits
I had always heard that weight loss was more about diet than exercise. In my case, this was more than true. I had been eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and as much as I wanted. My weakness was (and probably always will be) carbs, in all forms. I craved pasta, pizza, and bread of all sorts, much more than any indulgent dessert or treat. So, I knew for sure that this was an area that could use serious improvement. Since my mom has always commented on my unhealthy attraction to carbs, I confided in her about wanting to make a change and she helped me understand the difference between good and bad carbs. I hit the ground running and immediately cut out refined and processed carbohydrates, such as those found in the pasta and bread I loved, eating only carbs that were found naturally in fruits and vegetables. I knew I would be able to return to pasta someday, but for now it had to go.32131660
Step 2: Apps that aided and recorded progressBeing a full-time student while balancing a social life, I definitely did not have access or the funds for guidance from a nutritionist, so, I did what any problem-solving millennial would do and I scavenged the app store for something that could help me instead. The app that kick-started and aided me immensely in my journey was MyFitnessPal. It taught me a lot about my body and what and how much I should be eating. What I found most useful was the ability to choose a target weight and the amount of time I wanted to take to reach the target weight. It was especially helpful in the beginning because I had no idea about intake and calories. Is 800 calories a lot for a meal? How many calories should I be eating a day? Is butter a carb? I also used KeepSafe, which is a camera roll protected by fingerprint and/or a custom passcode. For me, tracking my progress visually was incredibly important. I wanted to keep track of my weight loss through photos of myself in a sports bra and underwear so that I could easily observe the changes happening. That being said, I didn’t want intimate photos of myself nearly naked living in my camera roll where a friend could easily stumble upon them.
Step 3: I skipped my diet sometimes
I remember beating myself up pretty harshly the first few times I broke the “no carb” rule I set for myself, but I quickly realized the significance of moderation. One meal, no matter how big or unhealthy, was probably not going to affect my weight as long as I was diligent and consistent with my diet the majority of the time. There was no reason to make myself feel as though I had failed for indulging. A bowl of gnocchi is something to celebrate!Step 4: I found my place to sweatI had always hated the gym and running, and intense anxiety tended to inhibit me from trying classes because I’m not completely in control of the situation. But, FINALLY, after a year and a half of healthy eating with no exercise, I forced myself to join a yoga studio. From the first time I went I was hooked. A tighter tummy was great, but a clear mind was even better. Step 5: I mentally prepared myself for others’ reactions When someone loses weight, even a few pounds, people notice. So, after six months and over 20 pounds shed, people reacted. I wasn’t heavy in a way that was threatening my health or well-being, so others questioned why I was trying to lose weight in the first place. I reassured my parents and close friends this was something positive and that I had everything under control, but everyone else was left to wonder. I found being genuine and kind was the best way to react to people’s opinions, both good and bad . . . even though it was annoying.

Step 6: I became okay with never hitting my target weight
Yes, a scale was a good way to measure change in my body, but it wasn’t the most important representation of my progress. It was much more about being comfortable in my own skin and dressing in clothes that made me happy. I did have a “goal weight” somewhat in my mind when I changed my lifestyle, but it dissipated from importance when I felt more confident and proud of my body, many pounds away from my original “goal.” I never hit my goal weight, and if I ever do I probably won’t know, because my scale has found a home in the trash can.

While I no longer use apps to track my diet, I am eternally grateful for how they helped me become the person I am today: a happy, healthy, self-confident yogi.

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8-Minute, 4-Move Total-Body Dumbbell Workout

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Grab a set of three to 10-pound dumbbells, set the timer for eight minutes, and let’s get moving! These four multitasking moves target more than one part of the body, so you’ll tone your arms, core, butt, and legs, all in just eight minutes.

Directions: Do two minutes of jumping jacks or jogging in place to get the heart rate going. Set the timer for eight minutes. Perform each of the below four moves for 10 reps (or five reps per side), with no rest in between exercises. Once you finish the four moves, start at the beginning and keep repeating this four-move circuit until the eight minutes are up, moving quickly, but with correct form. You can do it! It’s OK to start with a heavier set of dumbbells and then switch to a lighter set when you need to.

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4 Ways Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life

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Fill your marriage with gratitude: It’s been shown to boost commitment.

Showing appreciation, counting your blessings—whatever you call it, gratitude is a key component of physical and emotional well-being. In fact, feeling thankful translated to better mood, higher sleep quality, and reduced inflammation in heart-failure patients, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. And day-to-day perks like these make the habit all the more worth it.

RELATED: 9 Ways Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Fitter, and Richer

It improves your week

Try jotting down those “Hooray!” moments as you go through your day. A study from gratitude expert Robert Emmons, PhD, showed that people who kept weekly gratitude journals were more optimistic and happier overall than folks who recorded hassles or uneventful happenings.

It tightens our bonds

When college students who were mentoring high schoolers received a handwritten thank-you note from their mentee, they rated the mentee as having a warmer personality, found a 2015 study in Emotion. And they were more apt to give the high schooler their contact information.

RELATED: This Is the Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage, According to Research

It makes you resilient

Undergrad students who expressed gratitude—by thanking others, for example—tended to have higher self-esteem and, in turn, appeared less vulnerable to depression or hopelessness, according to 2015 research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

It bolsters your patience

In a study published in Psychological Science, participants who were asked to recall a time they felt grateful, then choose between getting a smaller monetary reward soon or a bigger one later, were more willing to wait for the bigger payout than those who didn’t think thankful thoughts.

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Here’s What LSD Does To the Brain

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What exactly happens to the brain on psychedelic drugs? A small new study, published in the journal Current Biology, peeked inside the brains of 15 people during an acid trip and found brain-scan backup for a popular drug cliche: that the tripper feels at one with the universe.

Fifteen healthy people, who were experienced users of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, came twice to a lab in London. (LSD is illegal in the UK, but it’s possible to use it in research with special permissions.) Once, they were injected with a small amount of LSD (75 micrograms); the other time they received a saline placebo. After an hour, to let the effects settle in, they got into an fMRI brain scanner, which captured images of what went on in their brains.

The researchers asked the people to rate their mood changes—getting answers like “I’m tripping like crazy” or “nothing is happening”—their visual distortions and their intensity of ego dissolution: a loss of self-identity and sense of connection to the environment outside of oneself that reportedly happens to people when they take LSD, which is illegal in the United States. “You don’t recognize yourself as a separate being from the universe,” says study co-author Enzo Tagliazucchi, a neuroscientist at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. “It feels, in a way, like transferring the consciousness from within your body to the outside world; the focus is in the objects that surround you rather than inside.” Tagliazucchi and the team wondered if they could find some changes in the brain related to this feeling of ego dissolution.

When they looked at the regions of the brain involved in introspection, or thinking about oneself, and sensory areas that perceive the outside world, they found that these networks were communicating more intensely than usual. “When we measured the brains of subjects who were really blown away by LSD, who had a really strong feeling of ego dissolution, they were also the ones who had the strongest increase in communication between the network of regions in charge of introspection and the network of regions in charge of perceiving the external world,” Tagliazucchi says.

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20 Minutes and Done! Full-Body HIIT Workout

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This high-intensity workout is anything but boring — time flies by as you jump, twist, and lift. Celebrity trainer and Barry’s Bootcamp instructor Astrid Swan McGuire created a 20-minute scorch session that works every muscle in your body. You will have tons of fun while blasting calories with this workout. All you need is a light set of weights. Press play and get ready to work!

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