Sugar Addiction and Obesity Starts in Childhood

A new study led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine finds that the brains of obese children literally light up differently when tasting sugar. Published online in International Journal of Obesity, the study shows that children who are overweight have an intense psychological reward response to food. » Read more..

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Is Your Diet Making You Depressed, Sick and Stressed?

It has been said that 70 million Americans suffer from digestive issues. Your gut is your second brain and if it’s not healthy, your brain won’t be either. Research shows that digestive issues contribute to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia. Autoimmune illnesses, migraines, eczema, acne, and chronic gastrointestinal symptoms all can be traced to an irritated GI Tract. » Read more..

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Is MSG Hiding in Your Holiday Meal?

Is your turkey toxic? The food you serve this holiday may do more than pack on a few pounds, they may actually do damage to your brain. Taking a little extra time to make your shopping list and add in a little more chopping time can help you prepare a healthy holiday meal. Chemicals found in some of our most basic turkey dinner treats contain Monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG a flavor enhancer added to thousands of foods you and your family regularly eat. Its one of the worst food additives out there and hides in many Thanksgiving and holiday meals. » Read more..

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The Impact of Trauma: Books to Help You Heal and Understand

Trauma reorganizes the nervous system. One’s brain, body and behaviors can be altered tremendously. Thousands of research studies show that brain chemistry changes, the immune system is compromised, and overtime their physical and psychological health is impacted greatly by traumatic experiences, especially without the right forms of healing. Whether you are helping someone who is suffering from PTSD or you yourself have experienced trauma, these books are excellent and highly recommended to help you understand and heal the impact of trauma on the brain and body. » Read more..

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Online Now! The Children’s & Teen Health Summit

Come join Pam and Emily along with 27 experts and learn about research, parenting, health and wellness, as well as parenting your child and teen at The Children’s & Teen Health Summit. It’s online and free this week only.  » Read more..

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Why the Scariest Part of Halloween is the Candy

Let’s face it there is a certain amount of dread parents have around the Halloween festivities. The cuteness of kids costumes wears off after they have ingested their weight in sugary sweets: tantrums, hording away snack-size candy bars, and sneaky behavior are bound to happen. Are you ready for the Halloween mania? Sugar rushes, hyperactive kids (maybe some adults too), not to mention exposure to dyes and allergens all impact your child’s brain chemistry. » Read more..

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New Research on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Serotonin

Scientists say they have identified the underlying reason why some people are prone to depression in the winter months, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Difficulty regulating a chemical in the brain, serotonin, may explain why some people suffer from SAD, according to new research. » Read more..

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Tossing and Turning? Sleep Deprivation and Your Health

There aren’t many people who are happy with their sleep: They get too little, they feel restless, they don’t wake up refreshed, they can’t stay asleep. In fact, most Americans admit to having erratic sleep patterns, especially through the work week. So what does sleep deprivation actually do to the body? And if we can’t add more hours to our sleep, how can we make the sleep we do get better? Top-Nursing-Programs.com shares their tips:

Sleep

 

Sleeping Beauty? 8 to 8.5 Hours of sleep per night adults generally require (1).  Are you getting enough?

1 in 3 Adults who have insomnia at some point in their lives (1)

43% of Americans ages 13-64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights.

60% admit to suffering some sleep problem every night (snoring, waking constantly, feeling groggy in the morning). (2)

15% of adults 19-64 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights. (2)

The Science of Sleep

Our bodies experience two types of sleep on a nightly basis: NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Since sleeping is a cycle, NREM occurs as we first fall asleep, with REM following about 90 minutes after and recurring about every 90 minutes.

Stage 1: Light sleep, between sleep and wakefulness.

Stage 2: Onset of sleep, during which we become disengaged with surroundings. Breathing and heart rate are regulated and body temperature drops.

Stages 3 and 4: Breathing slows, muscles relax, tissue grows and repairs, energy is restored and hormones are released.

How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Body

Lack of sleep or insomnia can have multiple negative effects on the human body and mind. Here are some of the most common and dangerous problems.

  • Fatigue. It is estimated that fatigue due to sleeplessness is the cause of 100,000 car accidents every year.
  • Dulled cognitive processes. Sleep consolidates and affirms memories in your mind. Without it, people have a hard time retaining learned information from the day before.
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 90% of those with insomnia also have other health conditions.
  • Lack of sex drive. For men especially, lack of sleep can contribute to lower testosterone levels.
  • Depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, it was found that those with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.
  • Premature skin aging. The stress hormone cortisol is released in great amounts in those with insomnia. Cortisol can break down collagen in skin.
  • Weight gain. People who sleep less than six hours each day are 30% more likely to become obese than those who sleep seven to nine hours.

How to Sleep Better

Most of us could use help falling and staying asleep. Just a few daily changes could mean the difference between a restless night and a restful one. (4)

1. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Wake up at the same time every day; even on days off.

2. Test your neurotransmitters. Unblanced levels lead to sleep cycle issues.

3. If you really need to make up for lost sleep, opt for a short (30-minute) daytime nap. Don’t sleep in.

4. Fight after-dinner drowsiness by remaining active at home before bedtime.

5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day.

6. Light sources suppress melatonin production. Try not to use a computer, TV, smartphone or tablet just before getting into bed. Consider orange tinted glasses to block the blue light, aiding in melatonin production.

Source: Top-Nursing-Programs.com

Sources:
1. http://deltasleeplabs.com
2. http://sleepfoundation.org
3. http://www.webmd.com
4. http://www.helpguide.org

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Trade Homework for Workouts: How After-School Exercise Improves Focus

Does homework time at your house make you and your kids want to scream? Contrary to what many schools push, and some parents believe, starting homework or staring at a computer after-school does not bode well for academic success. Playtime and afterschool exercise does. Sound too good to be true? A new study published by Pediatrics shows that afterschool exercise has more benefits than many parents—and teachers may believe. Children who exercised after-school showed better self-control increased executive functioning and improvements in memory. » Read more..

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New Research on Depression: Scientists Discover a “Dimmer Switch”

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

UC San Diego researchers have discovered that ratios of neurotransmitters may be more important than the brain chemicals themselves when treating depression. Two neurotransmitters, Glutamate and GABA which have very different roles are important in depression and how our brains react to bad news. » Read more..

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