Many Years Young

A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Treating Pain by Blocking the 'Chili-Pepper Receptor'

(Science Daily) As anyone who has bitten into a chili pepper knows, its burning spiciness -- though irresistible to some -- is intolerable to others. Scientists exploring the chili pepper's effect are using their findings to develop a new drug candidate for many kinds of pain, which can be caused by inflammation or other problems…
Laykea Tafesse and colleagues explain that decades ago, scientists had pegged a compound called capsaicin as the active ingredient in chili peppers that causes fiery pain. In the 1990s, researchers were able to sequence the genetic sequence for the protein "receptor" that capsaicin attaches to in the body. The receptor is a protein on cells that acts as a gate, allowing only certain substances into a cell.
The advance launched a hunt for compounds that can block this gate, cut off the pain signal and potentially treat pain that current drugs are no match for. Some of the molecules resulting from this search have been tested in people but cause unwanted side effects, or they wouldn't work well as oral medication. Tafesse's team wanted to explore variations on this theme to find a better drug candidate.
They produced more than two dozen similar compounds, each with its own unique molecular tweak. They tested them in the lab and in animals for the traits they were looking for, such as potency, safety, the ability to dissolve in water and whether they can be taken orally. One prospect showed the most promise, and it has advanced into clinical trials.
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Pain is a bigger problem for people who think life isn’t fair

(Reuters Health) People who tend to blame others for their suffering and think setbacks in their lives are irreparable tend to report more pain after knee replacement surgery, according to a new study.
This is not the first time feelings of personal injustice have been tied to longer recovery times and increased disability after injury, the authors write.
“Pain is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by biological, social, and psychological factors,” said lead author Esther Yakobov, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at McGill University in Montreal.
“Studies conducted with patients who suffer from chronic pain because of an injury demonstrated that individuals who judge their experience as unfair, focus on their losses, and blame others for their painful condition also tend to experience more pain and recover from their injuries slower than individuals who do not,” she told Reuters Health by email.
But those studies had been with victims of injuries, where externalizing blame is a bit easier than for degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, she noted.
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Fight to Find Out What is Causing Your Fibromyalgia

(Suzy Cohen, “America's Pharmacist”) The cause of muscle pain varies greatly from person to person. Try not to concern yourself too much with the name of your disease or your “diagnosis” because the labels you take on as an identity make it harder for you to overcome.  Just think in terms of having symptoms, rather than diseases, it’s more pleasant.
The following are some known causes for muscle pain and if you can find out the cause you can address it. With the help of a conscientious practitioner and state-of-the-art blood tests, find out if you have:
Infections- Pathogens known as EBV, CMV and HSV are known to hide in the body and cause muscle pain…
Magnesium deficiency…
Selenium deficiency…
CoQ10 deficiency…
Substance P- This is something you make and when it’s too high, you feel more pain…
Hormone imbalances- Without a doubt, Hashimoto’s, Graves’ disease, low thyroid (hypothyriodism) or being what I call “thyroid sick” will lead to muscle pain…
Insomnia…
Dysbiosis- This is a problem in the GI tract… Dysbiosis commonly leads to muscle pain.
Community: And there’s this:
(University of Florida) A University of Florida study published in the July issue of the European Journal of Pain has found that injections of the painkiller lidocaine in peripheral tissues such as muscles in the shoulders or buttocks reduced hyperalgesia, bringing researchers one step closer to understanding how chronic pain works within these patients.
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Understanding Headache Types is Key to Treatment

(Mayo Clinic) We have all experienced the annoying, relentless and throbbing pain associated with a headache. They can slow us down or even bring us to a complete stop. However, did you know that there are several different types of headaches, and knowing the type you've got can be the first step in effectively treating it?
Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner Erin Pokorny takes a look at different types of headaches and shares what you can do to fight them.
·         Tension-type headaches: These are considered to be the most common types of headaches. They are often described as dull and achy and are often brought on by stress, neck pain, missing meals and a variety of other things.
Treatment options: Tension-type headaches can often be treated by over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You may also want to try alternative treatments including meditationrelaxation training and massage.
·         Migraines: We've all heard about migraines, and we know that they’re not to be taken lightly. The pain associated with migraines is often described as throbbing and severe. Migraines are often associated with nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light and sound. Pain may worsen with increased activity. Untreated, migraines can typically last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours.
Treatment options: If you know the triggers for your migraines, make sure to avoid these known causes. Over-the-counter medication can help. Other treatment options include prescription medications; rest in a quiet, dark room; or a hot/cold compress to the head or neck.
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More Information and Recent Research on Pain and Pain Relief

(U.S. News & World Report) Pain doesn't have to dominate your every thought and move.
(LiveScience) According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no convincing scientific evidence that magnets can relieve pain.
(Science Daily) It is possible to relieve pain hypersensitivity using a new method that involves rekindling pain so that it can subsequently be erased, a study by two neuroscientists shows… The scientists were inspired by previous work on memory conducted some fifteen years ago. These studies had revealed that when a memory is reactivated during recall, its neurochemical encoding is temporarily unlocked.
(Sharecare.com) Add these to a healthy diet to help prevent and soothe joint pain… Salmon… Tart Cherry Juice… Strawberries… Nuts and Seeds… Vitamin D-fortified foods… Sweet Potatoes… Celery… Onions and Garlic… Avocados… Bell Peppers.
(Sharecare.com) Want to minimize pain and inflammation? Banish these foods from your diet. Salt… Dairy… Gluten… High-Purine Foods… found in organ meats like liver, kidneys and sweetbreads, as well as meat-based broth and gravy [,] fish and shellfish… Alcohol… Sugar… Corn Oil.
(MedPage Today) A plant-based diet may help relieve diabetic nerve pain, according to a randomized trial… In the 15-patient DINE study, patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetic neuropathy who were randomized to a vegan diet and B12 supplementation had greater improvement in pain scores than those who only took the vitamin, according to Anne Bunner, PhD, and Caroline Trapp, MSN, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
(Reader’s Digest) Fill up on these nutritious whole foods to nourish your body, stop pain, and ease painful inflammation. Olive oil… Pineapple… Apples… Nuts and seeds… Spinach… Dark chocolate… Brown rice… Grapes… Oranges… Cherries… Cranberry juice… Onions and garlic… Green and black tea… Broccoli… Fish… Soy protein.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza
Ditch the tomato sauce and give pizza a makeover by topping with chicken, fresh peach slices and Gorgonzola cheese. A drizzle of tangy balsamic reduction provides the perfect balance to the sweet summer fruit.
EatimgWell:
Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets & Potatoes
Potatoes, leeks and turkey burst with intense flavor when roasted with honey, mustard and curry. Serve with: Steamed snow peas and carrots and a glass of white wine.
Washington Post:
Cooking Light:
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
French Bean Salad
Here’s a variation of a dish my mother used to make when I was growing up in Oregon, with a vegetarian Caesar dressing created by Andy’s daughter, Diana. Talk about a collaboration! As always, freshness and seasonality are the keys to the success of this dish. It’s best when made a few hours in advance and served chilled. Diana first used this dressing on vegetarian Caesar salad. Try it tossed with romaine leaves, croutons, and some Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings. (True Food chef, Michael Stebner)
Food as Medicine
Along with abundant anti-inflammatory flavonoids including quercetin and kaemferol, green beans are good sources of the mineral silicon. While not as widely known as other nutritive minerals, silicon is essential for strong bones and healthy connective tissue. Keeping cooking times brief … helps to preserve nutrient levels.
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Food News

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) In addition to their crunchy texture and pleasantly mild taste, green beans are a good source of vitamins K, C, A and manganese, as well as fiber. Adding green beans to your daily fare can help to: 1. Promote strong bones. 2. Protect against heart disease. 3. Prevent colon cancer. Green beans also have anti-inflammatory effects and support immune health.
(Sharecare.com) There are a lot of reasons to take red meat off the menu—saturated fat anyone? But if you plan to indulge, Michael Roizen, MD, has four strategies that can make your grilled beef healthier. Learn what they are in this video.
(Sharecare.com) Need to lower your cholesterol? Cut back on added sugar. A recent study showed that too much added sugar in your diet could contribute to high cholesterol levels. In this video, Barbara Ficarra, RN, explains the connection [between] sugar and choleste[rol.]
(Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD) [A] sandwich can either be a well rounded combo of nutrient-rich ingredients, or a downright dietary disaster. Here are nine of the best and worst fillings to consider, along with a few tips to prevent sandwich calorie overkill. Best: Avocado… Hummus… Basil… Onions… Vinegar… Worst: White bread… Processed meat… Ranch Dressing… Imitation cheese.
(Sharecare.com) If you like coffee and red wine, you're going to like this: Both drinks may help keep dementia and Alzheimer's disease away. In this video, Barbara Ficarra, RN, explains the substance in both that protects our brains.
(The Supermarket Guru) The produce department is so vital to winning store selection, generating trips, putting shoppers in a buying mood, and positioning a banner as a health and wellness destination… So why do so many supermarkets weaken this impact by cross-merchandising too aggressively? Merchants may think they do no harm with 10-foot sets of salad dressings, or opportunistic displays of croutons, shortcake, whipped cream and other processed foods in certain seasons. Yet these tactics, which were clever years ago, are overdone today. Consumers overwhelmingly want to eat healthier and focus on selecting the best available produce without distraction.
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The dilemma of eating locally-sourced foods

(Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EDD, RD) In my pediatric nutrition practice, I often preach about getting more fruits and vegetables into the diets of the children I see…
A recent experience I had at a local farmers’ market really got me thinking about how difficult it is for some of my patients to practice what I’m preaching…
I picked up two pint-sized baskets of strawberries, along with three ripe tomatoes and four ears of corn. I’d purposely avoided buying corn at the local greengrocer because I’d heard that local farmers were selling it here.
As the cashier tallied my purchases, I strained to take in the final tab. “That’ll be $15.50,” she said cheerfully. I was floored. I knew there might be some difference in price between this and what my neighborhood supermarket charged, but I never expected that much of a difference. How much of a difference? On the way home, I did a price check at the local supermarket and the same items came to only $6.50. Much less than half the price.
My shopping trip highlights the dilemma eating locally can sometimes pose. It’s better for the planet and it’s supposed to give us food that’s fresher and tastes better (though not always; the corn I bought had seen better days), but if it’s more than twice as expensive as the stuff that comes from farther away, how can people — especially those on a low or fixed income — afford to support local farmers?
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Caring Canines: Receive support from a four-legged friend

(Mayo Clinic) Caring Canines therapy dogs can provide a warm and positive therapeutic interaction that is focused on improving the mental, emotional, social and physical health of a person. Families also benefit from the social interaction, with a break from the stress of caregiving. Smiles, cuddling and tail wagging are all part of the experience. Pet-assisted therapy can provide people with a unique experience that is like none other in health care.
Research has shown that pet-facilitated therapy provides the following benefits:
·         Improvement in memory, communication and increased social interaction.
·         Increased physical exercise, sensory stimulation, decreased blood pressure and reduction in pain.
·         Emotional support through positive responses from unconditional love and acceptance, with a decrease in feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
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Quick Takes

(Science Daily) New results show that it's possible to assess dietary compliance from a blood sample. This is especially useful in controlled dietary intervention studies investigating the health benefits of specific diets. So far, such studies have mainly relied on the participants' self-reported dietary intake, which is often biased, making it more difficult to assess the real health benefits.
(Science Daily) An innovative method for using affordable, consumer-grade 3D printers and materials has been developed to fabricate custom medical implants that can contain antibacterial and chemotherapeutic compounds for targeted drug delivery. "It is truly novel and a worldwide first to be 3D printing custom devices with antibiotics and chemotherapeutics," said one researcher.
(Science Daily) Insulin can protect the cells of the pancreas from acute pancreatitis -- a disease for which there is currently no treatment -- researchers report. Acute pancreatitis involves the pancreas digesting itself resulting in severe abdominal pain, vomiting and systemic inflammation.
(Science Daily) An imaging study of chronic users of codeine-containing cough syrups (CCS) has found deficits in specific regions of brain white matter and associates these changes with increased impulsivity in codeine-containing cough syrup users. These findings were consistent with results of previous studies of heroin and cocaine addicts. White matter disruptions also correlated with the duration of CCS use.
(Reuters) Although many things have gone wrong in the autistic brain, scientists have recently been focusing on one of the most glaring: a surplus of connections, or synapses. Neuroscientists reported on Thursday that, at least in lab mice, a drug that restores the healthy "synaptic pruning" that normally occurs during brain development also reverses autistic-like behaviors such as avoiding social interaction.
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Interesting Stuff

(Science Daily) Genetic evidence in modern populations suggests that Neolithic farmers from the Levant traveled mostly by sea to reach Europe. By 7,000 B.C., they were introducing their ideas and their genes to the native Paleolithic people, who had migrated to the continent 30,000 to 40,000 years before.
(Discover Magazine) It’s enough to put an old-fashioned family tree to shame. A visualization of the migration routes of more than 150,000 people, from 600 BC to the present day, brings to life human history in the Western world in an engrossing and novel way.
(Discover Magazine) With 7 billion people now inhabiting the planet — more than at any other time in history — you’d think we’re having more babies than ever before. But a millennia ago, birth rates were actually higher in the [U.S.] Southwest than they are anywhere in the world today, researchers have found. Back then, the regional population soared — and then crashed eight centuries later. Can modern-day humans learn anything from the ancient Puebloans’ downfall?
(Science Daily) Men born in November, December or January are more likely of being left-handed than during the rest of the year. While the genetic bases of handedness are still under debate, scientists obtained indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism promoting left-handedness among men.
(University of Texas at Austin) Bacteria inside your mouth drastically change how they act when you're diseased, according to research using supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). Scientists say these surprising findings might lead to better ways to prevent or even reverse the gum disease periodontitis, diabetes, and Crohn's disease.
(Discover Magazine) New immersive environments are allowing researchers to visualize and study everything from brains to hurricanes with unprecedented detail and scale.
(Singularity Hub) British neurologist and neurosurgeon Geoffrey Jefferson: “Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain—that is, not only write it but know that it had written it.” In Jefferson’s view, a machine, through clever artificial means, may contrive to create and report its creation—but it can’t know it’s created because it’s no more than a collection of mechanical parts and instructions written by its programmers.
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Infectious Disease News

(USA Today) Two American aid workers who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa have been released from the hospital. Doctors say the former patients are no longer contagious, posing no threat to others. Kent Brantly, a physician with the humanitarian group Samaritan's Purse, was discharged from Atlanta's Emory University Hospital on Thursday. Missionary Nancy Writebol, of SIM USA, was discharged Tuesday.
(ABC News) Hugging took center stage at Emory University Hospital today as officials announced that American Ebola  patient Dr. Kent Brantly  would be discharged after spending three weeks in the isolation ward. Far from fearing that they would catch the deadly virus, dozens of hospital staff members wrapped their arms around Brantly and held onto him for several seconds before letting him move on to the next person. And that's exactly what experts say was needed to remind Americans that Ebola survivors are no threat to the general public.
(ABC News) American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly … was [the] first human to receive ZMapp, which until recently had only been tested in monkeys. His condition improved within an hour, according to the aid group Samaritan’s Purse. But Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s infectious disease unit, said drug’s role in his and Writebol’s survival is unclear. "Frankly we do not know if it helped them, made any difference, or even delayed their recovery," he said.
(Los Angeles Times) Two Liberian healthcare workers who received experimental medication to fight the Ebola virus have shown some improvement, the World Health Organization said Thursday. In a statement , the international health agency said that doctors working in Liberia told them a doctor and nurse have shown “marked improvement” after receiving the experimental treatment ZMapp.
(AFP) The limited doses of Ebola trial drugs must not be reserved for the well-off or well-connected, two medical ethics experts said on Thursday as two American doctors treated with an experimental serum were pronounced cured. "Fair selection of participants is essential," Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania and Annette Rid of Kings College London wrote in The Lancet medical journal. "Especially in a dire emergency such as this one, well-off and well-connected patients should not be further privileged."
(Bloomberg) The best chance for an immediate treatment for Ebola patients in the worst outbreak ever may be readily available, in the blood of survivors.
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Environment and Health

(NBC News) Breathe easy, American city dwellers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Thursday that the level of toxins in the air of American cities is down ... way down. Compared to 1990, levels of benzene, which is found in gasoline, is down 66 percent. There is nearly 60 percent less mercury in the air from man-made sources like coal plants. And lead levels are down a full 84 percent, good news considering it can lead to cardiovascular problems in adults and slower brain development in children.
(Science Daily) Many rivers contain levels of ibuprofen that could be adversely affecting fish health, researchers report.
(ThinkProgress) At least 10 percent of the contents of fracking fluid injected into the earth is toxic. For another third we have no idea. And that’s only from the list of chemicals the fracking industry provided voluntarily. That’s according to an analysis by William Stringfellow of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, reported in Chemistry World. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the practice of injecting fluid at high pressure into the earth, which breaks up oil- and gas-filled rock formations that is then extracted to the surface.
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Pharma News

(Reuters) Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc said two doses of its drug to smoothen cellulite were statistically significant in a mid-stage study… Auxilium said 68 percent of the patients given a mid and high dose of the drug — which is already marketed as Xiaflex, an injectable drug for other conditions – reported being "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the results. That compared with only 34 percent of patients given a placebo… A second mid-stage study for the drug, collagenase clostridium histolyticum (CCH), is slated for the second quarter of 2015.
Community: Huge potential market there, as long as they don’t make the drug too expensive! I hate my cellulite.
(Reuters) Baxter International Inc said a more potent version of its flagship blood disorder drug Advate met the main goal in a late-stage study. The experimental drug, BAX 855, was being tested as a preventive therapy and an on-demand treatment in 138 previously treated adolescent and adult hemophilia A patients.
(Reuters) The U.S. government is tightening restrictions on hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller contained in Vicodin and other addictive drugs. The move comes as health and law enforcement officials try to curb a rising tide of prescription drug abuse. Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by opioid painkillers, according to federal data.
(Reuters) A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to allow the sale of generic versions of the Hospira Inc sedative Precedex… The FDA said Monday that drugmakers could sell generic Precedex as long as the label left out information about uses of the drug covered by Hospira's patent, which covers "intensive care unit sedation."
(Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota) How the destitute and the mentally ill are being used as human lab rats.
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Step Inside Wegman’s Passport to Wellness Program

(Retail Dietitians Business Alliance) The Passport was the brainchild of Linda Lovejoy, our Community Relations Manager.  About ten years ago Linda met with Penfield, NY officials to discuss how we could jointly encourage local residents to get moving as a way to enjoy healthier, better lives.  Working with an innovative Parks and Recreation volunteer in Penfield along with our Nutrition Team, Linda developed the Passport to Family Wellness, a fun way to encourage exploration of local nature trails.  The result: a pocket-sized trail "passport" with easy-to-read maps, fitness tips, and motivation in the form of prizes for trails hiked and recorded in booklets.
Today, over 60 Wegmans stores partner with town and city recreation programs, park conservancy groups, fitness programs, and more—and hundreds of families are discovering the fun of hiking, skiing, canoeing, biking, and exploring their town's picturesque trails.  Our message of helping build healthy communities continues to expand and now includes many of the new communities where we are growing right here in Maryland.
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First Wellness Program Firing Suit Filed by U.S. Agency

(Bloomberg ) Orion Energy Systems Inc. (OESX) was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly punishing, then firing, a worker who refused to participate in a company wellness program.
The complaint filed [Wednesday] in Green Bay, Wisconsin, federal court is the first to challenge a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC said in a statement. Orion, a maker of energy-efficient lighting systems, is based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
While most Americans approve of programs offered by employers to promote healthy behavior, a majority says it’s not appropriate for employers to require people who don’t participate to pay higher premiums, according to results of a June survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit health-care research organization.
Community: Will employers become Big Brother?: “Wear This Device So the Boss Knows You’re Losing Weight.
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GOP Just Trying to Derail Affordable Health Care

(Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research) There is zero truth to most of the Republicans’ stories on the horrors of the ACA, but that has little relevance to their efforts to derail the program. They apparently believe there is no more pressing problem facing the country than making sure that people do not get health insurance.
This is the backdrop that must be kept in mind when considering the Halbig v. Sebelius case, which is moving through the court system… The issue in this case is fairly straightforward: There was a mistake in writing the law. The wording of the law says subsidies in the exchanges are only available in the exchanges that were established by the states. If interpreted literally, people enrolled in the federally run exchanges would not be eligible for subsidies.
There is zero doubt this wording was a mistake. There is no record of any member of Congress, anyone connected with the administration or anyone involved in health care policy advocating subsidies be restricted to people enrolled in the state exchanges…
The people who would be losing subsidies are mostly in Republican-controlled states. They will lose their subsidies because their governors and/or legislators didn’t want to cooperate with the ACA. Taking away subsidies from these people will probably be about as popular as taking away Medicare from people in these states. But hey, the Republicans think it is important to keep people from getting insurance.
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New research explains insomnia prevalence among elderly

(UPI) As adults get older, they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Symptoms of insomnia are especially pronounced among adults diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Now, researchers think they know why.
As part of a recent study, a group neurologists have pinpointed specific inhibitory neurons related to sleep. The researchers were able to show that the loss of these neurons resulted in increased sleep disruption…
"We found that in the older patients who did not have Alzheimer's disease, the number of ventrolateral preoptic neurons correlated inversely with the amount of sleep fragmentation," explained Dr. Clifford B. Saper, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and senior author of the new study. "The fewer the neurons, the more fragmented the sleep became… These results may … lead to new methods to diminish sleep problems in the elderly and prevent sleep-deprivation-related cognitive decline in people with dementia."
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An Unusual Cure for Not Enough Sleep

(Piercarlo Valdesolo, Ph.D., Claremont McKenna College) Psychologists know that beliefs about how experiences should affect us can bring about the expected outcomes. Though these “placebo effects” have primarily been studied in the context of pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. patients reporting pain relief after receiving saline they believed to be an analgesic), recent research has shown their strength in a variety of domains.
Tell people that their job has exercise benefits and they will lose more weight than their coworkers who had no such belief. Convince people of a correlation between athleticism and visual acuity and they will show better vision after working out. Trick people into believing they are consuming caffeine and their vigilance and cognitive functioning increases. Some evidence shows that such interventions can even mitigate the negative effects of other experiences. For example, consuming placebo caffeine alleviates the cognitive consequences of sleep deprivation.
New research from psychologists at Colorado College suggests that this might not be the only way to get over those late nights out. Beliefs about the quality of the sleep you get might be enough to ward off negative effects of sleep-deprivation on your mental acuity. Manipulating people’s perception of how well they slept could affect cognitive functioning.
Community: Better to get enough good sleep, friends, than to try to fool yourself. Sleep tips are available from the Mayo ClinicWebMD,Andrew Weil, and The People’s Pharmacy.
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